GMB call on Be First chair to heed own warnings on social housing
GMB call on chair of Be First (Regeneration) Ltd to heed own warnings on social housing
Around 84% of the new homes planned by Be First in Barking and Dagenham will be priced out of the reach of the lower paid workers. This is an act of calculated cynicism by the well paid out of touch elite in charge, says GMB London
GMB have called on the Chair of Be First (Regeneration) Ltd and Peabody Housing Association, Lord Robert Kerslake, to heed his own warnings from 2017 on the need for social housing and the potential impact of the housing crisis on voters.
In December 2017 The Guardian published an article on Lord Kerslake, who expressed his concerns that the housing crisis could mean that some groups of people who are not able afford housing might “go to the far right”, and that a lack of affordable housing could be “exploited against migrants” .
However, as Chair of Be First (Regeneration) Ltd, Lord Kerslake is offering just over 16% of new builds as social housing in Barking and Dagenham, a council which up until 2010 had representatives from the far right of politics.
GMB have also held protests against the Peabody Housing Association, of which Lord Kerslake is also the chair, after the company held public auctions to sell 16 social homes off to the highest bidder. [See notes to editors for previous GMB press release]
Last month, GMB criticised Be First (Regeneration) Ltd plans to produce a minimum of 9,700 new homes by 2023 of which just over 16% will be social or affordable homes, with the rest priced out of reach for lower paid workers.
GMB have also previously called on Be Fist (Regeneration) Ltd to explain why the company’s accounts were overdue to Companies House. When they financial accounts to March 2018 were released in April 2019, they revealed a loss of just under £4 million pounds.
Warren Kenny, GMB Regional Secretary, said:
“Lord Kerslake has said on record that by not providing enough social housing, the councils will push residents to attack refugees and immigrants and support the far right groups, yet here he is, presiding over the council owned firm Be First which is doing exactly that.
“Around 84% of the new homes planned by Be First in Barking and Dagenham will be priced out of the reach of the lower paid workers. This is an act of calculated cynicism by the well paid out of touch elite in charge.
“Lord Kerslake should heed his own warnings on social housing instead of selfishly digging for the next big pay cheque."
Contacts: Vaughan West 07967 342197 or GMB London Press Office 07970 114762
Notes to Editors
 Housing crisis could push young voters to extremes, says former Whitehall chief – The Guardian (27 December 2017)
Previous GMB Press Releases
1] Be First (Regeneration) Ltd accounts show nearly £4 million loss in first year of trading (9 April 2019)
2] GMB ask Barking and Dagenham auditors why delay arose (3 April 2019)
3] 16% social housing in Barking and Dagenham council not good enough (29 March 2019)
4] GMB call on Barking and Dagenham Council to explain Be First (Regeneration) Ltd’s failure to file accounts (13 March 2019)
5] GMB support pickets against auction of social housing (11 February 2019)