A row has broken out among Bristol’s Labour councillors over the Reverend Rees’s efforts to freeze council rents this year. The result is that crucial budget papers for the Housing Revenue Account were pulled from a Cabinet meeting at the last minute this week. Could a WAFER THIN voting majority at the Council House mean that the Reverend finally has to take some notice of his long-suffering backbenchers rather the unelected City Office business wankers and evangelicals he usually surrounds himself with?
The Reverend, having already made a song and dance in the local press about his generosity in freezing rents to help the poor, has been left high and dry by these backbenchers. The row directly pitches the LONG TERM VIABILITY of our council housing stock against short term electoral needs. The Reverend and his supporters are keen to push through this freeze believing it will ATTRACT VOTES when elections finally happen.
Another section of his party is more concerned that the freeze will create a HOLE in the Housing Revenue Account and will affect the council’s ability to build new homes; renovate old homes and meet their targets to retrofit homes to meet climate change targets. The cost of retrofitting, alone, is conservatively estimated at £0.5 BILLION
The £1.8m cost of a freeze for this year reduces the council’s ability to borrow to meet their housing commitments in the future. LESS rental income means LESS ability to borrow money. We’re told that this £1.8m actually amounts to over £50 MILLION less to spend on our council housing over the next 30 years.
There is also evidence from around the country that other authorities that have not raised enough money through rents have been forced to PRIVATISE their housing stock or seek out private ‘partnerships’ to support building and renovation plans.
As well as an effort to hoover up votes with POPULIST PLOYS, is the Reverend also trying to further lever open the door for a CORPORATE ASSAULT on our council housing through his mysterious City Leap public-private partnership programme that’s been eyeing up our city’s council housing assets?
“We should never have been in the energy business,” is the Reverend Rees’s mantra regarding Bristol Energy. The deranged energy reselling wheeze delivered courtesy of a pair of hapless elected mayors and a supporting cast of idiot senior council bosses and greedy private sector troughers that has cost the city an estimated £50 MILLION during a long period of austerity and public service cuts.
But why, if we should never have been in the energy business, is the Reverend now setting up ‘CITY LEAP‘, a “billion pound” public-private vehicle to decarbonise the city? Or is “the delivery of a local interconnected, low carbon, smart energy system in Bristol that provides long-term social, environmental and economic benefits for its residents, communities and businesses” not “the energy business”? If not, what is it?
This latest Bristol City Council energy project, which, like the last one, is promising social, environmental and economic benefits to the city is also, like the last one, shrouded in mystery. Albeit an even more EXPENSIVE mystery with the best part of £10million already shifted to the private sector to pay for legal and procurement consultants who have finally delivered a shortlist of three multinational corporate ‘partners’ for the project.
But what is this project? So far, we understand, the council will be handing over their limited number of ENERGY ASSETS – mainly some half-finished city centre heat networks and wind turbines to a multinational company to “implement competitive heat retail and competitive heat generation across the heat network”.
In English that means the multinational will be making A PROFIT from public assets by charging the competitive rate they choose to supply energy from our public infrastructure. However, this is nowhere near a “billion pound” project, which makes some recent announcements from the council’s housing department rather interesting.
They say, “Housing recently assisted the City Leap team with updating and revising documentation for the City Leap project, which included the INFORMATION ON OUR STOCK and the potential OPPORTUNITY for improvements to net zero. Housing will continue its liaison with the City Leap team and notes the significant benefits that having a pre-procured partner for project delivery and, potentially, investment could have on the rapid roll out of carbon reduction programmes.”
In other words Bristol City Council Housing Service intend to sign A CONTRACT IN ADVANCE with a multinational to retrofit all their council homes. Then should any large government grants for retrofitting council homes roll in to the council – such as through a ‘GREEN NEW DEAL‘ – they’ll roll straight out again and offshore to a corporation who can charge whatever they want and do whatever they want.
They’ll be no competitive tendering; no local opportunities; no local profit and little democratic control over any housing improvements or the public funds for them. This could, potentially, amount to tens, if not hundreds, of MILLIONS in grants.
Of further concern is another missive from the council’s housing department, “it is anticipated that the retrofit of domestic properties will be included in the program of works delivered by the City Leap Energy Partnership. The REQUIREMENT to retrofit domestic properties is essential to the decarbonisation of heat and to achieving carbon neutrality.”
Is this a reference to privately owned homes? And what is this “REQUIREMENT to retrofit domestic properties”? A project that might well cost that magic “billion pounds”. But how will home owners be “required” to retrofit their homes? Will this have to happen through the council’s multinational partner? Do homeowners pay or do the government pay? Can homeowners be FORCED in to debt to meet this new “requirement”?
Will households in the city end up INDENTURED to some faceless multinational corporation so that the council can live the green dream while delivering an extravagant pay day to a lucky corporate? Is the plan, this time, that the council’s foray into the energy business dumps the inevitable huge losses directly on to us?
As council housing activists continue to occupy former council property 44 Richmond Terrace, Avonmouth to get homeless ex-serviceman Anthony Palmer and his 18 month son housed in dignified conditions, the council continues to LIE about what they can do.
Senior housing bosses led by their useless Tory-boy liar-in-chief, Housing Director, Nick “Drooper”Hooper, continue to claim that they have NO POWER to let Anthony ‘jump’ the housing list and give him a home.
THIS IS BOLLOCKS.
If you cast your mind back to 19 February 2012, you might recall Bristol City Council announcing with great fanfare that “the sole unnamed local person has discontinued his application to the High Court for a Judicial Review [into the Ashton Vale Town Green application].”
And you may also recall, the withdrawal of this person from this judicial review briefly made it look like Bristol City FC could build their multi-million pound new stadium and commercial development on greenbelt land unimpeded.
However, what you may not have realised is that this “sole unnamed local person” who briefly helped make this lucrative development a possibility also happened to be a council tenant in Ashton Vale.
You also may not have realised that the day before this gleeful press announcement from the council appeared, this “sole unnamed local person” was mysteriously whisked away in a chaueffeur driven car never to be seen at his Ashton Vale council home again.
And why was this? Er, because Nick Hooper’s housing department, which – remember – has no power to let anyone jump the housing list, rehoused this “sole unnamed local person” in a well-appointed one bedroomed bungalow elsewhere in the city at very short notice – working to a timetable that turned out to be very convenient to a local billionaire.
Isn’t it amazing what Nick Hooper can manage to do at the drop of a hat to help out a mega-rich football club owner who resides offshore to avoid tax and what he can’t do to help a homeless ex-serviceman trying to care for a young son just released from care?
Hooper’s clearly a man only too prepared to drop his pants and bend over his desk for the wealthy and influential of the city. The only question is: does he charge for his generous favours to local gentleman of considerable means?
The BRISTOLIAN has spoken to the occupiers of 44 Richmond Terrace, Avonmouth this evening and – despite the serving of a civil eviction notice on them three weeks too late by Bristol City Council – they say a solution remains on the table.
“Place Anthony Palmer on the Band 1 housing priority he’s entitled to and where he should be placed as an ex-serviceman NOW and we will leave the property before 5.00pm tomorrow,” they say.
“This will allow the council to complete the sale of the property with the buyer as they are obliged to do by that time.
“If they do not do this then the costs will start racking up to the council tax payer while the council housing department will face further embarrassment and negative publicity as we fight the eviction and their house sale collapses.
All paid for by YOU, dear reader, at the rate of around £300 a week. A sum happily dished out to the landlords of this revolting shithole by housing boss Nick “DROOPER” Hooper and Bristol City Council.
The conditions this vulnerable family are forced to live in by our council and its clueless upper middle class tosspot of a housing boss are DISGUSTING and INTOLERABLE.
Why is this being allowed to happen? How is this property considered fit for human habitation at all by the council? Why are the landlords of this vile shit pit being handed public money? When is this going to be stopped?
Our housing department have lost leave of their senses.
Mentally retarded council housing boss Nick “DROOPER” Hooper is getting himself into a right old pickle with his INEPT attempt to ASBO a pair of environmental campaigners from Avonmouth on behalf of the local Tory Party.
Drooper, you may recall, fired off a THREATENING letter to the pair after they hand delivered some questions to Avonmouth’s village idiot Tory councillor Wayne “DUMB” Harvey.
However, now under scrutiny for his bizarre conduct, Drooper is becoming increasingly SHIFTY and claiming that his investigation into the environmentalists was in fact some sort of peculiar “not-an-investigation” procedure!
He claims his letter “was intended to set out the Councils view that the conduct alleged was, from the reports received, potentially anti-social and not conducive to good public administration.”
So does ANYONE have the foggiest idea what the fuck the difference is between receiving reports and forming a view on the basis of them and a straightforward investigation please? Answers welcome below.
Meanwhile, Drooper has now ended all correspondence on the matter of his er, deranged, unlawful and party political correspondence telling the AVONMOUTH ASBO DUO to contact the Local Government Ombudsman instead.
A pointless exercise as we all know the ombudsman is a GUTLESS regulatory quango that will see no problem with Drooper’s quasi-judicial party political antics.
However, The BRISTOLIAN understands that the injured parties have now received legal advice and will be taking the matter further through that route.
This, of course, will cost you dear council tax payer A SMALL FORTUNE in legal fees. And all because some balding OLD TORY TWAT on £90k a year thinks he’s above the law and will not do the decent thing and withdraw a load of old bollocks he’s written and apologise.
What a reckless MONEY SQUANDERING TWAT Drooper is.
This arrogant piece of Tory fuck-up with the fragile ego needs to withdraw his ludicrous claims immediately and save a small fortune in the public money that he’s handsomely paid to have some kind of responsibility for.
All is not going to plan, it seems, with Bristol City Council’s efforts to ASBO environmental campaigners in Avonmouth on behalf of the TORY PARTY.
Readers may recall that the council’s thick and useless housing boss, Nick “DROOPER” Hooperfired off a letter to the two campaigners before Christmas threatening them with LEGAL ACTION for the new crime of hand delivering a letter to idiot savant Avonmouth Tory councillor Wayne “DUMB” Harvey.
Our intrepid campaigners, knowing a load of half-arsed BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL BULLSHIT when they read it, immediately fired in a complaint to the council, questioning the extent of the alleged statutory POWERS claimed by Drooper, his right to SECRETLY SNOOP on them and his apparent DISREGARD for their human rights..
A reply has now finally been received. And we discover that the council has simply IGNORED the majority of the complaint while helpfully explaining that no investigation into the pair took place despite Hooper’s legal threat detailing the conclusions of his. er … Investigation!
By what other process did DROOPER obtain “allegations” against the pair, consider the evidence and form his biased opinion then? Did it all just pop into his head as a vision while high on opiates? Or perhaps he just MADE IT ALL UP?
The council then go on to explain, using their amazing legal logic, that Drooper, by denying the pair their basic civil right of a RIGHT TO REPLY are not entitled to any civil rights whatsoever (such as the protections afforded under ARTICLE 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights)!
Normally at this point, we would say that you couldn’t make this shit up. But they obviously they have!
On the bright side, the council have not DENIED that Drooper is politically biased and doing favours for his friends in the local TORY PARTY. Neither have they denied that the purpose of his letter was to BULLY and HARASS local residents.
So at least we can all agree and publicly state without fear of legal action that Drooper is a POLITICALLY BIASED TORY BULLY BOY.
However, rest assured the matter will not rest here. A matter not likely to be helped by a RUMOUR emerging from the depths of Lawrence Weston that the complaint Drooper acted upon did not even come from councillor DUMB – who’s basically semi-literate and far too busy dropping his pants and bending over the desk for Merchant Venturer Port bosses Mordaunt and Ord to write a letter of complaint – but from local MP Charlotte “BACARDI” Leslie’s office.
Surely known Tory sympathiser DROOPER, Bacard’s office and the council wouldn’t be stupid enough to conspire to issue a blatantly BENT ASBO to help a Tory MP in a marginal constituency just months before an election?