Minister blames paper for loss of housing ballot

Housing Minister Keith Hill has blamed the Camden New Journal for a tenants’ vote against Government policy that has caused consternation in Whitehall.

Camden’s tenants voted by 77 per cent against a new form of housing management called an Arm’s Length Management Organisation (Almo).

Critics believed it was a form of privatisation.

Hill blamed the paper for Camden’s failure to secure the tenants’ approval, most recently on BBC London Radio.

He said: “The Camden New Journal ran a long-standing campaign against the Almo… it’s well read in the locality.”

Hill also told a parliamentary committee: “Camden had a singularly hard struggle. They had to face an unremitting campaign on the part of the Camden New Journal, which certainly did not hesitate to misrepresent its interview with me.” He was referring to a tape-recorded meeting with a Camden New Journal reporter last year.

However, deputy editor Andrew Johnson said quotes taken from the interview were used accurately. He maintained the New Journal presented both sides of the argument ahead of a ballot on the Almo programme, which would have transferred the management of homes from the town hall to a new board of tenants, councillors and independent appointees.

“We did give space to both sides of the debate. This did give opponents a platform to air their views,” he said.

By Jean Morgan

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