Barnet Alliance for Public Services
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 14 July 2014
‘No rogue landlords in Barnet Council’, ‘Immorality in the mayoralty’
On Tuesday,15 July, at 6pm Barnet Alliance for Public Services will demonstrate outside Hendon Town Hall before the full council meeting, calling for the resignation of Mayor Hugh Rayner. They will be expressing the views of the 86% of Barnet residents who responded to a survey in the Barnet Times.
Cllr Rayner is under investigation by Barnet’s Monitoring Officer for a range of complaints relating to housing issues, including allegations that he has charged a number of his tenants on housing benefit rents between 26% and 55% above market rates, forcing them to apply to the discretionary fund to pay their rent, and that he imposed annual leases allowing him to raise the rent at any time by any amount. There are further allegations of intimidating a tenant by calling unannounced late at night, and of having another councillor falsely sign a document as a witness.
These allegations are compounded by the fact that Councillor Rayner, who owns between 15 and 19 properties in the borough, did not declare any interests in housing when he chaired the Business Management Overview and Scrutiny Committee dealing with housing policy or when voting on housing issues in full council.
Whatever the legal outcome of the investigation, Cllr Rayner’s actions are clearly unethical. Given that many of these allegations have not been disputed, it is a scandal and an insult to the residents of Barnet that the council has not removed him as mayor – supposedly a position of honour – and suspended him. That Conservatives have only a one-seat majority on the council might explain this inaction, but it makes them all party to his disreputable behaviour.
• Barnet Alliance for Public Services (BAPS) is a coalition of residents, trade unionists and community campaigners in the London Borough of Barnet, formed to defend and improve public services.
• Online poll in the Barnet Times: http://www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/news/11284915.Poll_results__86_per_cent_of_people_think_Mayor_Hugh_Rayner_should_resign/
• Investigation by Times Series newspapers: http://www.times-series.co.uk/news/11281023.Mayor_Hugh_Rayner_failed_to_declare_interests_when_voting_on_housing_policies/
Contact: Barnet Alliance tel: 07807 556161/07534 407703 – http://barnetalliance.org;