Activism

Social housing tenants block roads in protest outside £345-a-head UK Housing Awards

Suited and booted guests endured shouts of "shame on you" from protesters as they made their way inside.

Social housing tenants blocked roads as executives arrived at the £345-a-head UK Housing Awards in London on Thursday night.

Suited and booted guests were forced to make their way inside to chants of “shame on you” as protesters claimed housing association bosses were using their rent money to buy champagne inside but not carry out repairs.

The event, held at the InterContinental hotel, in the shadow of Greenwich’s O2 arena, was attended by housing association employees, council employees, and others from the housing sector.

Kwajo Tweneboa, a housing activist and housing association tenant, told The Big Issue he considered the protest a success.

“I was disgusted at the CEOs walking past and laughing at us protesting for decent housing provided by them, meanwhile they spent £4,000 on tables, no doubt funded by the rent we pay. Completely immoral and inhumane,” he said.

“Just goes to show how little they care, but well done to everyone that came out.”

Protesters holding a long “public housing not private profit” banner blocked the approach to the hotel, backing up cars, and challenged guests to speak with them.

The 50-strong group was made up of housing association tenants and campaign groups including Social Housing Action Campaign and Action for Fire Safety Justice.

Drivers began dropping guests off down the road, with event security gathering them in groups before escorting them past the makeshift roadblock.

The 25 largest housing associations in England pay their chief executives a total of £7.82million, according to Housing Today.

Ahead of making their way to the hotel, protesters gathered at North Greenwich station to hold a mock awards ceremony, presenting golden toilets to councils and housing associations for their poor records.

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