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‘Affordable housing’ in Waltham Forest: Labour councillors talk up their alleged achievements, but the data on completions is still dismal

(cartoon courtesy of WOOX) It’s been widely reported that some Labour councillors are bragging about a supposed breakthrough in the local provision of ‘affordable housing’. Politicians habitually will trim to their advantage, obviously, but in truth this new claim is incomplete without careful contextualisation, as a glance at the data demonstrates. To start with, it is important to underline that, as previous posts have noted, the word ‘affordable’ is vague and often used confusingly, but what’s referred to as ‘affordable housing’ in fact encompasses housing let at four different rent levels, two, called Intermediate Rent and Affordable Rent, which aren’t really affordable at all, espe... »

LBWF’s new core strategy, ‘Mission Waltham Forest: our plan for a more equal borough’: laudable response to austerity, or cynical political opportunism?

 At its February meeting, the Council approved ‘Mission Waltham Forest: our plan for a more equal borough’ (hereafter MWF), comprising a new ‘strategic ambition’ and ‘core purpose’, which is to make Waltham Forest a more equal borough by 2030, plus a new and ‘radical’ way of working, very much ‘a break from… business-as-usual’. In detail, MWF will focus council effort and resources on ten different priorities, six about ‘the issues that matter most to our residents’ (homes, health, access to services etc.), and four about ‘how we must transform how we work if we are to deliver on our vision for the borough’. Throughout, it is underlined, the emphasis will be on involving and listening t... »

LBWF is making 150 employees redundant, and imposing 105 separate spending cuts, but its long-term habit of appointing expensive senior staff apparently continues

Some of the choices that LBWF makes about the expenditure of public money are perplexing, to say the least. Consider first some recent history. Over the years, and when speaking publicly, leading Labour councillors have repeatedly insisted that dwindling central government funding is threatening the council’s financial stability. Yet behind the scenes, as this blog has revealed, these same leading Labour councillors have rubber stamped an extraordinary, certainly unprecedented, expansion in the number of senior Town Hall staff, with the latter increasing from 101 to 370 between 2015 and 2022 (the last year when figures are available) at a cost of at least £19m.. Now, with inflation and highe... »

Private Eye reports LBWF’s mushrooming number of expensive senior staff, their failure to improve performance, and the redundancy programme that is the consequence

From Private Eye, No. 1617, 16 Feb to 29 Feb. 2024 »

Walthamstow community activist Charlie Edwards’ court case shows that, though LBWF has a legal duty to release to each resident the personal information it holds about them, it is still obstructive

Some months ago, Walthamstow community activist Charlie Edwards lodged a claim for damages against LBWF because of the way it had handled a request for the personal information which it held about him, what’s known as a Subject Access Request (SAR), and earlier this week his case was heard at the Clerkenwell and Shoreditch County Court. The hearing started on a comical note.  LBWF was represented by barrister Douglas Scott of Six Pump Court (which describes itself as ‘Recognised nationally and internationally as one of the UK’s leading sets of Chambers’) and, while waiting to start, Mr. Scott warned Mr. Edwards that his primary aim was to have the case straightaway thrown out. Yet, desp... »

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