Council Leader Branded 'Hypocrite'

For holding a tenancy for social housing whilst owning home in Acton

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Ealing's Council Leader has defended himself after being called a 'hypocrite' for buying a house whilst continuing to hold a tenancy with a housing association.

Councillor Julian Bell owns a five-bedroom house in Acton and has a joint secure tenancy with the A2Dominion Housing Group for another property.

Conservative opposition leader, Councillor Greg Stafford, spoke to the Mail on Sunday branding Cllr Bell a hypocrite.

Councillor Bell says he has done nothing wrong: ''I have no intention of commenting on a number of unfounded and untrue allegations regarding my family and I that have been made anonymously in recent days.

''On the issue of my current housing situation, I am keen to make absolutely clear that all the arrangements relating to my social housing tenancy with A2Dominion Housing Association are completely appropriate and transparent.

''Over a number of years, I have had to make a number of decisions regarding my family's housing situation to enable my wife and I to care for frail and elderly relatives with complex care needs, a situation exacerbated by a number of extremely challenging issues relating to our house move. I have always been completely open with Council colleagues throughout what has been a difficult time for my family and I.”

In a statement issued today, Cllr Stafford said: '' "Whilst I am sympathetic to any personal issues Cllr Bell has with his family situation especially when it comes to elderly relatives, there are clearly questions that need to be answered.

'' The fact that he is a tenant in a social rented house whilst also owning a £1m house is not denied by him. He has also admitted that he has rented parts of it to foreign students. He also claims that he has been trying to adapt it for an elderly relative but he's owned for over 7 years over which period it has gained significantly in value and no adaptation has been made thus far.

''Bell is always bemoaning the lack of affordable housing in the Borough, so at the very least, this looks like hypocrisy. Even if he has done nothing illegal, the council leader has a moral duty to ensure that social housing goes to people who desperately and genuinely need it.''

Dawn Wightman, A2Dominion Group Housing Director, said: ''We are unable to comment on individual tenancy agreements due to data protection regulations.

''However, as a social housing provider we are committed to ensuring the terms and conditions of all tenancy agreements are adhered to. We would always investigate any case where we believe an agreement could have been breached and take action if necessary.''

Cllr Bell says A2Domininon have confirmed that his family's housing situation is within the terms of the tenancy agreement, and, as there has been no breach, there is nothing to investigate.


16th December 2014