“We want to see this scandal addressed urgently by Councillors and MPs”, said Haringey Council tenant Paul Burnham. “Any form of racism is totally unacceptable. This bad stuff is going to be happening all around London unless we stand up and say NO”, he added.
New data from Freedom of Information requests show that black and minority ethnic (BME) residents will be disadvantaged by the Borough’s reliance on housing tenures (market sale, market rent, shared ownership) which have barriers to access because of requirements for deposits and advance payments.
We already knew that 48% of households in Haringey have no savings or are in debt (excluding mortgages).
Newly-released data shows that 61% for households of mixed heritage, 69% of black households, and 74% of Asian households in Haringey have no savings or are in debt. These people cannot rent or buy the new homes being built here.
Haringey Council didn’t ask, and didn’t tell about these devastating figures, which spell out the social exclusion and injustice which will follow from continued market-facing development schemes.
They never even asked for an ethnicity breakdown on the people without savings. We had to work on raw anonymised data that was released following a Review that we requested, of the initial response to our question.
None of Haringey Council’s many housing Equality Impact Assessments address the income and savings level of black and minority ethnic households: not for the development plans at Wood Green under the proposed Haringey Development Vehicle (HDV), not for the estate demolition and redevelopment plans at Northumberland Park under the HDV, and not for the planned demolition and redevelopment at High Road West, in partnership with Lendlease and separately from the HDV.
There was no Equality Impact Assessment at all for the HDV itself.
“The Election candidates for both main parties in Haringey [Labour and Lib Dem] have ditched the HDV plan”, said Paul Burnham. “But they are continuing with grandiose demolition and redevelopment plans, which will exclude poorer people and those with low and unstable incomes, those with no savings, and people who are in debt.”
“Now we know, in facts and figures, that the losers will be disproportionately black households. The question is, what are we going to do about it?”, he added.
In 2015, Haringey Council accepted that black people would be disadvantaged by the over-reliance on shared ownership in Tottenham in their Draft Housing Strategy. Their proposed mitigation was:
‘The ability of local people to afford the new homes being built, especially in the east of the borough, is dependent on them accessing jobs and also increasing their incomes to a sufficient level to afford the new homes on offer as a result.’
There was no concern for the racist outcomes of Council policy.
We have written to all local Councillors and to both of the borough’s MPs (David Lammy and Catherine West) to demand that this scandal needs to be addressed urgently by:
Stopping all demolition plans for council housing estates, which under the government’s housing funding regime can only be replaced by mostly-unaffordable housing, increasing local house prices and private rents.
Commissioning a new, fit for purpose and comprehensive housing needs survey, focusing on those localities which the Council wishes to ‘transform’, such as Northumberland Park, North Tottenham, etc.
A Public Enquiry into exactly who (whether Council members or officers, or both) authorised Equality Impact Assessments to cover up policies which deepen racial inequality and disadvantage.
We need more and better council housing, which provides the most affordable rents that are most badly needed for local people in housing need, with secure permanent tenancies and with public sector accountability. Excessive service charging must also be restricted by clear public policy decisions.
Haringey’s Local Plan must be re-examined, so that housing is built which local people of all origins and backgrounds can actually afford to live in, thus going forward to a fairer and more inclusive society.
Up-front costs such as deposits and advance payments must be properly considered, as well as the weekly or monthly costs of rent, mortgages and service charges.
More to follow…