(text updated 21st June 2021)
A secure tenancy on a £330,000 riverside flat in Tower Hamlets in east London, at social rent? That sounds too good to be true! Tell us how?
We asked Poplar & Limehouse’s newest occupant of their secure Labour parliamentary seat in Tower Hamlets for an answer. Ms Begum, formerley married to a currently serving Tower Hamlets councillor, seems to have bagged herself a secure tenancy on a £330,000 property in the Isle of Dogs region of the Borough.
Balfron Social Club asked her how she did it?
“The housing crisis remains at the top of the political agenda, its scale laid bare by the Covid-19 epidemic . But despite the media spotlight, the stories of those affected by the chronic shortage of social housing in the United Kingdom, including in Tower Hamlets, have often been left out of debates on housing.”https://poplarandlimehouselabour.org.uk/index.php/events/
The housing crisis in Tower Hamlets is catastrophic for local communities, after years of corruption at the very top, with a mayor who used to be a lobbyist for property developers; billions of pounds of public assets have been passed into the hands of their friends and associates, which are then quickly passed into the hands of property developers, redeveloped and sold with the most minimal of public housing provision; typically 0% in direct comparison with traditional social tenancies.
Instead, properties, which still meet the criteria to be classified as “affordable” housing, require a £90,000 income in order to buy a 25% share of a tiny new-build property; a property built on the graveyard of social housing and the communities that once lived there.
But Poplar & Limehouse has a brand new MP- young, female and ambitious, what’s the problem?
The problem is that Apsana Begum jumped over 18,000 places on the official Tower Hamlets social housing register. This register recently had tens of thousands of names removed from it, and many more people, including myself, have simply been refused permission to add our names to the list.
So, if there are 18,000 people officially on the list, how many people are there that Tower Hamlets have deemed un-listworthy?
Including myself, I estimate there to be at least that number again; sofa-surfing, sleeping on floors, in vehicles, in overcrowded or unsafe homes, garages, sheds, doorways, squats etc.
So, how did Apsana Begum MP get a secure social tenancy on a £330,000 riverside flat on the Isle of Dogs, next to the now near-abandoned Canary Wharf international banking sector?
We have asked, repeatedly, but we have still not received a reply.
To be fair, I am not the only person asking, and I don’t think anybody has received a reply. Corruption and social cleansing seem to come as standard equipment in Tower Hamlets, under Mayor John Biggs, with a number of entire buildings mysteriously changing hands or being sold to friends for just £1, and dozens of entire estates facing “regeneration” as our social housing is asset-stripped and replaced by business models that suits banks and property developers, not buyers and certainly not the local community.
Housing policy in Tower Hamlets is overt social cleansing.
Tower Hamlets Social Housing Case Studies
As official figures provided by crooked politicians on social housing simply cannot be trusted, and their PR closely resembles the genre of fantasy fiction, I thought I would share a few stories about people who weren’t lucky enough to be given a secure tenancy, at social rent, in a riverside property, in only 5 months.
Having been hand-picked to stand for election, in 2019, in the secure seat of Poplar & Limehouse in Tower Hamlets, east London- a borough renowned for corruption, Ms Begum seems to have decided that it would be a good idea to spin herself into position as a saviour of social housing.
Dispossession: the Great Social Housing Swindle
Watch Dispossession: the Great Social Housing Swindle for yourself, the Balfron Tower excerpt, co-produced and even featuring a guest appearance by myself, is available to watch below or on YouTube, free of charge.
You can watch the full documentary here.
Dispossession: the Great Social Housing Swindle. Dir: Paul Sng 2017.
A tradition of corruption
In a Borough as corrupt as Tower Hamlets, you would think that a “model” Labour council would be more careful about corruption, especially housing fraud, given the scarcity and price of such a limited resource.
This is not the first time a Labour politician in the area has been caught, accused and convicted of housing fraud.
Mohammed Haran, was convicted of housing fraud and sent to jail, shortly after being elected as Councillor for Lansbury, site of the hotly contested Chrisp Street Market regeneration proposals, which were unanimously approved by crooked Labour councillors in the pockets of property developers.
Stop the corruption! Stop the social cleansing!
The people of Tower Hamlets have had enough. We have had enough of the fraud and corruption and the Sino-Soviet style entitlement to public assets by politicians in Tower Hamlets.
Drop the act, Ms Begum. You jumped the housing queue, trampling over 18,000 people to receive housing that you are not entitled to. That is fraud, and you should go to jail for blatantly stealing social housing from people in need.
Dear reader, if you were really looking for an answer to the opening question then we apologise, as we are still a little unclear as to how we can get social housing in just 5 months as well.
Why not ask Apsana Begum directly, maybe she will be able to help you.
On 14th September 2020, Apsana Begum MP blocked Balfron Social Club on Twitter. No answer has ever been provided as to how she skipped over 18,000 places on the social housing register to receive social housing in just five months.
Despite being blocked, we will keep asking.
UPDATE (21st June 2021)
Apsana Begum MP has been charged on three counts of housing fraud and will appear before a Judge at Snaresbrook Crown Court on 21st July 2021.
Further information can be found here:
Balfron Social Club
26th August 2020