Sunday, 13 October 2013



Welcome to the club, Theo Blackwell.

Your nationwide Freedom of Information campaign is a welcome help to what for  years a Carlisle community group has been aiming for.

Theo Blackwell (right) is a leading London borough councillor. He appeared this week on the BBC Two Politics Today show  in a campaigning film to get the Freedom of Information Act updated.

The act applies to local and central government and allows the public to ask for details about how these bodies work. But the act does not apply to private companies, voluntary firms and housing associations who are publicly-funded to carry out work for local and central government.

Councillor Blackwell says the act should apply to these organisations. The Carlisle community group, Carlisle Tenants` and Residents` Federation agrees with that. The group has said so dozens of times in letters, emails, and meetings with councillors and with the city council.

In all these efforts Federation has been aiming to get answers from the Liverpool-based Riverside Housing Association which took over the city`s 6000 former council houses when they were privatised, 

But now Riverside fails to give answers when questions are raised about such issues as the demolition of several blocks of sheltered housing and the recent demolition of one-bedroom flats in Botcherby despite increased demand for one bedroom flats caused by the bedroom tax.

Councillor Blackwell is Cabinet Member for Finance at Camden Borough Council, one of the largest local authorirties in the country, and has overall responsibility and budget setting for £250 million.

 He says he deals with a"complex web"of private contracts. "It is time for  private sector firms to work by public sector rules" says Councillor Blackwell.

And that says the Federation should also apply to Riverside Housing Association. Riverside too should work by public sector rules.

Community Voice Carlisle is the blog of Carlisle Tenants` and Residents`Federation. Information about the Federation is given in the first post of this blog, dated March 25 2013

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