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Protest in Willesden after housing association scraps building homes with social rents

PUBLISHED: 16:07 08 September 2015 | UPDATED: 16:14 08 September 2015

Kilburn Unemployed Worker's group protesting outside Genesis in Willesden (Pic credit: Angela Blake)

Kilburn Unemployed Worker's group protesting outside Genesis in Willesden (Pic credit: Angela Blake)

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A protest has been held outside the offices of a landlord in Willesden after it revealed it was to axe building any social housing in the future.

Campaigners from Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group demonstrated outside Genesis Housing Association (GHA) on High Road, against the plans which would see the organisation concentrate on homes that are privately rented and outright sales.

Neil Hadden, chief executive of GHA, said the changes were being made because the government was “not particularly interested” in low-cost affordable housing.

Alan Watson who led the protest, said: “This is just the beginning. This is typical of shark developers moving in to make money from housing association properties which were originally set up to provide affordable housing for ordinary Londoners.”

Last year, Mayor of London Boris Johnson introduced changes that allowed the rent of affordable homes to be charged at up to 80 per cent of the market rate.

Mr Watson added: “People on benefits and low pay are going to be forced out of London by this lack of cheap social housing, if Genesis do it the others will follow; rents will go up and foreign investors will move in to make a killing.”

With around 16,000 social and affordable rental homes, GHA is one of the largest social landlords in the UK.

A GHA spokeswoman said: “We are committed to delivering 5,000 new homes over the next five years, and building new homes for affordable rent will continue to be a part of our work.

“however, in light of recent government policy, we will need to build a greater proportion of homes for shared ownership, market rent and outright sale - the profits from which will be re-invested back into the business so that we are able to continue to provide social housing and care and support services for thousands of vulnerable people across London for many years to come.”

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