North: Scrooge Bain Strikes Again

by Carmel Gates

Socialist Voice February 2003

THE EVIDENCE continues to grow that George Bain richly deserved the "Scrooge of the Year" award bestowed on him by the Socialist Party at Christmas. Not only is Sir George attempting to screw the FBU through his Review of the Fire Service, but he is also denying basic rights to the former tenants of the Malone Housing Association bought by QUB in March 2000.

Not only were these tenants not consulted on the sale of their public housing as required by law, but Queens then failed to inform them of their existing housing rights as laid down in housing legislation.

The law defines the basic rights of tenants who occupied the Malone Housing Association properties prior to their sale to QUB and the obligations on Queens as the new private landlord of these previously publicly owned properties. Tenants who signed their tenancies prior to the Housing (Northern Ireland) Order 1992 are "protected secure tenants" whose rent is determined by the DOE. Tenants who signed after the 1992 Order but prior to the sale to QUB in 2000, should expect to enjoy rents set below market level and within reach of those in low paid employment.

Yet, in the face of these legal requirements, the Estates Department at Queens illegally imposed an above inflation rent hike on all former Housing Association tenants on the 1 January 2002.

So George Bain, the vice-chancellor of Queens and the landlord of these properties, who enjoys living in his rent free mansion with his six figure salary, is obviously quite happy to inflict hardship on his long suffering tenants.

The Socialist Party's message to Mr.Bain is, "Come on Scrooge, inform your tenants of their legal rights, abide by the law, reduce these extortionate rates and stop screwing those worse off than yourself".

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