18 February 2011

Guardian rubbishes Hammersmith councillor’s desperate attack on Shelter and Cambridge University

Cllr Lucy Ivimy is Tory H&F council's Cabinet member for Housing and a standing embarrassment to her Tory colleagues. She recently made a full-throated attack on Shelter and Cambridge University's Centre for Housing and Planning Research for producing a well-argued report which showed that government cuts would make Hammersmith and many other London boroughs virtual no-go areas for anyone on housing benefit - exactly the social cleansing” Boris Johnson warned about last year.

Embarrassing Lucy Ivimy
Cllr Ivimy, whose academic credentials are believed to be limited, said Cambridge's work was “based on false assumptions and deeply flawed analysis, coming to alarmist conclusions”. She even made the extraordinary claim that Cambridge researcher Alex Fenton, who undertook the report, was “some 26-year-old undergraduate who had no knowledge or understanding of statistics and had no idea what he was doing” (see this detailed report by Labour councillor Lisa Homan). We don’t know Mr Fenton's age but we do know he has an MA in Social Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh and an MSc in Research Methods from the University of Surrey (see here) and an impressive body of work (see here).

Now the Guardian’s London blogger Dave Hill has taken up the story and set out why he thinks the Shelter report is spot on. His piece is well worth reading.

Hill notes the restrained response to Cllr Ivimy from Shelter’s Kay Boycott: "We look forward to seeing Hammersmith and Fulham's own independent assessment of the impact these cuts will have on child poverty and homelessness within the borough”.

He says, “My hunch is that Boycott would not have said this were she not confident that Hammersmith and Fulham has no plans to produce such an assessment. I'll gladly set the record straight should I be wrong.”

We wouldn't suggest Dave holds his breath.

Btw, for the benefit of the Tories who we know scour this blog, here are a few facts (more here):
  • More people who claim housing benefit are in low-paid work (26%) than unemployed (22%).
  • Others are pensioners, disabled or have caring responsibilities.
  • Reducing housing benefit rates will move people away from their jobs and future employment opportunities and disrupt children's education.
  • The main reason the housing benefit bill has grown is because rents have risen by 63% over a decade from 1997.


Anonymous said...

Is this the same Lucy Ivimy that blamed "Indians" living in our social housing for throwing rubbish out the windows?


Anonymous said...

Perhaps rents are so high because the government will pay these extortionate rents to private landlords.

I reckon landlords will take rent cuts rather than see their properties empty.