Necessity Still Breeds Ingenuity - Archive of SQUALL MAGAZINE 1992-2006

News Shorts & Other Busyness

Westmaladminister City Council

Squall 9, Jan/Feb 1995, pg. 6.

As District Auditor John Magill’s investigation of Westminster Council’s late eighties “gentrification” and “social-engineering” policy draws to a close, new allegations about the extent of the bribery came to the fore at the beginning of Feb.

As reported extensively in the last SQUALL, Westminster City Council, under the leadership of arch-dragon Damn Shirley Porter, had selectively sold off council houses to “increase our support” in “key wards”, as well as exporting homeless people out of the Borough as “they are not our natural supporters.”.

The newly uncovered documents show that in order to increase the attractiveness of council house sales, Westminster Council agreed to pay for unlimited free repairs to those houses, well after they had already been sold.

The confidential report, now in the hands of John Magill, shows that the 6,700 people who bought homes under the ‘designated sales’ scheme since the mid-1980’s, have been given free or cheap servicing charges and indemnity against all repair bills, some of which have amounted to £20,000 per property. This is estimated to have cost nearly £30 million of tax-payers money, and once fully investigated, may add considerably to the £22.25 million surcharge on those implicated council officials, fingered by the District Auditor’s provisional report last year.

A memorandum marked September 1 1987, written by former housing director and implicated official, Graham England, is included amounts the new evidence before the investigation

“Our whole home ownership policy, both right to buy and designated [sales] could be affected by adverse publicity that this will generate and this could effectively deter purchasers. We must find a solution to this problem urgently. It may be possible by exploiting loopholes in the present regulations to avoid collecting charges from lessees.”

Back in 1987, Graham England’s worry about “adverse publicity” could not possibly have predicted the “Disgraceful, Unlawful, Improper” headlines that would be splashed all over the newspapers seven years later.

It is still not known when District Auditor John Magill’s full report will be published but it promises to be a corker.

Magill has resisted all the underhand attempts to have him removed from his post by the likes of Tesco heiress and ex-leader of the Council, Damn Shirley Porter and now looks set to give the westmaladminister politicians the public exposure they deserve.

Of course, once Magill’s report is published, the 13 Westminster residents who filed the original complaint will still have to find the money to take the implicated officials to the High Court, an important step in the long haul to eventual justice.

Related Articles
Westmaladminister Council - no wonder trust in politicians is so low. Squall 6, Spring 1994.