Video: Haringey housing lead confuses ‘affordable’ and social housing

Cllr Alan Strickland is – for the moment – Haringey Council’s ‘Cabinet Member for Housing Regeneration and Planning’ and has therefore been a key player in the ‘HDV’, the controversial ‘Haringey Development Vehicle’ that involves the handing over for demolition of thousands of social homes to a private company.

Haringey is also at the centre of a controversy because a significant number of councillors have been deselected by their members. ‘Moderates’ complain that this is a Momentum-driven ‘purge’. Members point out that there is a close correlation between councillors’ support for the HDV and deselection, while councillors who oppose it have been reselected even if more to the right of the party.

Cllr Strickland appeared, alongside award-winning journalist and anti-HDV campaigner Aditya Chakrabortty, on the London edition of the BBC’s Sunday Politics programme to discuss the HDV and the concerns of local residents.

The full segment is available on YouTube, but one part of the discussion – in which Strickland was asked whether there were any guarantees in the HDV deal about social housing numbers – was especially revealing:

Mr Strickland was asked repeatedly about social housing – but continued to repeat supposed provisions in the deal for Affordable Housing. Provisions that Aditya Chakrabortty, in another part of the conversation, says are so shot through with get-out clauses as to be meaningless anyway.

But while, to the lay-person’s ear, social and Affordable (the capital is important) housing sound similar, in fact they’re not the same thing at all.

According to Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity, the official definition of social housing is:

low rent, secure housing prioritised by need.

The legal definition of Affordable Housing, on the other hand, is very different.

While it can include social housing, it also includes:

shelter affordable.png

It’s not hard to see that a private developer looking to maximise income is unlikely to choose social housing when the definition means it doesn’t have to – meaning that residents expecting social housing to be built and available at social housing rates are likely to be very, very disappointed.

Mr Strickland is Haringey Council’s housing lead – meaning that he ought to be fully conversant with the distinction between social and Affordable.

So either he’s not as well informed as residents have a right to expect, or he appears to be dancing around the difference between the terms.

Mr Strickland has decided to step down as a councillor after failing to win reselection in Noel Park ward, blaming ‘narrow factionalism‘ for his deselection.

His complaints have been echoed by other ‘moderate’ councillors and their supporters in Haringey – leading to claims in the print and broadcast media of a ‘Momentum purge‘ of ‘centrists’, claims which were of course regurgitated with relish by right-wing factions Labour First and Progress.

But might Mr Strickland’s confusion – accidental or otherwise – of terms central to his housing brief as shown in the video above, as well as in his alleged ‘contempt’ for various stakeholders, not be an indicator that there are many other possible reasons that Haringey residents and Labour members are deselecting councillors that support the HDV?

Cllr Strickland was contacted for comment but had not responded by the time of publication.

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  1. It is imperative that the Labour Party roots out corruption within the party before taking power.

    This involves rooting out the corrupt right wing councillors, employees and officials operating within the party.

    The membership is making good progress on removing corrupt councillors. However, the General Secretary of the party is making no attempt whatsoever to root out corrupt employees and officials who have broken data protection legislation, purged members on spurious grounds and rigged internal elections.

    There is only one reasonable conclusion to be drawn from this lack of action. That conclusion is that Iain McNicol, the General Secretary of the Labour Party, is complicit with the corruption that has been allowed to flourish within the party under his stewardship.

  2. The right in our party. has done nothing other, than feather their own nest at the expense of their local CLP members and local Labour voters!
    It’s taken a while for those locals to see what’s happening, we are now fighting back!
    The likes of Strickland and his ilk, are in the dwindling past!
    We will not tolerate them any longer!
    We will route them out, these right-wing Tory sympathisers, from our SOCIALIST LEFT LABOUR PARTY!
    The reason for our birth lays in our ROOTS, the Courage of our founders is well written in HISTORY!
    It’s now time, we picked up from where we started and the reasons why we started “THE LABOUR PARTY”!
    There’s a change sweeping this Country it’s called CORBYNISM!

  3. Of course he knows the difference. He just assumes that we, the electorate, don’t. Unfortunately there are many unsuspecting, and not particularly politically aware who are indeed hoodwinked by him and his ilk and they’re the ones who’ll probably never get to realise the truth because it won’t affect them. They’ll blithely sit back believing “the right thing” has been been done.

  4. The other equally misleading comment he made was that the council will have a controlling share of the HDV with 50%. The truth is that all decisions will require consensus. The council will not be able to make a single proposal without the agreement of Lendlease.

    1. For the head of housing of a major council to be confused by those terms would be inexcusable

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