Labour councillors in London are being urged to boycott a prestige property fair this month over fears that property developers stitch up deals that would hit council tenants and leaseholders in the capital.
Unite, the country’s largest union, said that Labour councillors should walk away from the MIPIM property fair, the biggest of its kind in the world, being held at London’s Olympia between 15-17 October.
Unite said that the fair attracts developers, estate agents, landowners and multi-national investors who, the union says, are “directly profiting from the UK housing crisis”.
In a letter to Labour-controlled councils in London, Unite’s deputy regional secretary for London Vince Passfield said:
“Many will be seeking to make property deals with local authorities that will ultimately be detrimental to existing residents and wider communities.”
Unite said that already Tower Hamlets council has pulled out and understands that Hammersmith and Fulham won’t be going.
Vince Passfield said:
“There is a strong and growing movement developing around the housing crisis in the UK, particularly in London, with an increasing focus on the role of private developers and landowners in the ‘regeneration’ of local authority social housing estates.”
“An overwhelming number of local authority estate ‘regenerations’ have had extremely negative effects on council tenants and leaseholders, as well as wider communities.”
“Among others these effects have included; a reduction in the number of council properties available at socially affordable levels; forced removal of existing council tenants; and forced removal of leaseholders – often with compulsory purchase at significantly lower than market values; and a large number of other problems.”
“We are strongly urging Labour councils to withdraw from participation in MIPIM and the close relationships with private developers that the event seeks to foster, and to commit to working with progressive groups and policy-makers to develop genuinely sustainable local housing solutions that truly benefit people on low to middle incomes in the capital.”
The councils that Unite has written to are: Barking, Brent, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Haringey, Harrow, Hounslow, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Newham, Redbridge, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, and Waltham Forest.
The fair details can be accessed via www.mipimuk.co.uk/the-event/