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From The Socialist newspaper, 5 July 2017

Newcastle tenants demand answers from Labour council

Rock Terrace tower blocks in Newcastle, photo by Stephen Richards/CC

Rock Terrace tower blocks in Newcastle, photo by Stephen Richards/CC   (Click to enlarge)

William Jarrett, Newcastle Socialist Party

On 27 June I attended a meeting organised by concerned tenants of Your Homes Newcastle (YHN), an arms-length management organisation (Almo) of Newcastle City Council, at Cruddas Park tower in the city's west end.

Tenants revealed a shocking array of safety violations catalogued throughout Newcastle's tower blocks in the fortnight since the Grenfell Tower disaster, explicitly referring to them as being potentially criminally negligent.

Included among them were failures to install smoke detectors, faulty windows, lack of fire extinguishers, and doors which sealed a tenant inside of their home during a fire alarm.

A member of Newcastle council Labour group, Dipu Ahad, questioned whether the meeting was organised by actual tenants. But a BBC Look North film crew present didn't question the meeting's authenticity, and were keen to interview residents.

Councillor Ahad said that if the campaign was going to be "hijacked"(!), then "we" - presumably Newcastle's Labour group - "can't help".

This drew the ire of Diane, a campaign organiser and YHN tenant. The possibility of rent strikes was also discussed.

The Socialist Party rejects all outsourcing of council housing, whether through Almos or private companies. Services must be returned in-house, and fully funded, for proper oversight and regulation.

I offered our solidarity and support to the campaign, and committed to undertake activity with them to hold YHN and Newcastle City Council to account to ensure safe housing for all.

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In The Socialist 5 July 2017:


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Related links:

Newcastle:

triangleRMT strikes in Newcastle and London

triangleOver 1,000 on Newcastle NHS march

triangleNorthern health campaigns conference discusses the fightback

triangleRMT rail members buoyed by coordinated action

triangleRMT strikes against removal of train guards spreads

Tenants:

triangleButterfields tenants join TUSC campaign

triangleGrenfell: survivors not rehoused, inquiry not independent, blocks not safe

triangleLeeds Socialist Party: Organising tenants in the private rented sector

triangleCorbyn's left must seize the advantage in Labour's civil war

Labour:

triangleBristol South Socialist Party: How can councils protect public services?

triangleLocal paper reveals Labour candidate 'tried to defect to the Tories'

triangleLabour councillors could stop unsafe 'driver-only operation' tomorrow

Council:

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Our local TUSC council challenge

triangleBromley library workers win strike campaign

Housing:

triangleWirral Socialist Party: A socialist housing policy

Homes:

triangleLondon tenants and workers protest against social housing auction

Grenfell Tower:

triangleStormzy is right to slam Tories for Grenfell

Outsourcing:

triangleMay elections: a chance to fight attacks on health and social care

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