Tenants' organisations are at odds over barred campaigners
The Tenants' and Residents' Organisations of England has come under fire from anti-stock transfer housing campaigners after barring them from distributing literature at its national conference.
In an email exchange seen by Inside Housing, the Camden Federation of Tenants' and Residents' Associations attacked TAROE for refusing it permission to hand out leaflets from Defend Council Housing and the House of Commons Council Housing Group.
These briefings included information on amendments being tabled to the Housing and Regeneration Bill, the ongoing campaign to secure funding to improve existing and build new council housing, and opposition to proposals to introduce means testing.
TAROE defended its refusal. In one email to the Camden Federation, Michael Gelling, chair of TAROE, said: 'Your organisation and the people you send from your organisation have no rights at this conference as it is not a membership conference.
'Any actions that are perceived by TAROE to disrupt the set agenda will be met with removal from the conference.'
In his response Meric Apak, the federation's chair, said: 'It is the government - not member tenants' organisations - that seem to be setting TAROE's agenda.'
Labour MP Austin Mitchell, chair of the House of Commons Council Housing Group said: '[The briefings are] all of direct interest to tenants as it involves the funding of council housing and how ballots for transfers are conducted.'
Mr Gelling accused the Camden Federation and Mr Walter of 'brinkmanship'. 'I said if he put the materials away he was welcome to join in the debate but he refused.'
He rejected claims that TAROE was afraid to criticise the government.