At the same time too, as a second method of developing its policy of getting rid of hostile voters, Westminster City Council was removing many of its homeless people to cheaper accommodation outside the borough; to Hounslow, Barking and outside London altogether. WEAG vigorously opposed the "exporting of Westminster homeless families to outer London and beyond."

(Incidentally, the city Council seems to be reverting to the same policy after the 2010 election).

The Council's method was to board up empty homes and sell them. The policy was known as 'designated sales'. With a housing shortage and people clamouring for anywhere to live, these security doors were an affront to common sense, causing intense anger among local people, but the Council persisted.

Years later, in December 1997, the High Court found the process to be unlawful. Dame Shirley Porter and her deputy David Weeks were ordered to pay back £27 million which had been  lost in rents as a result of their willful misconduct. Eventually however all they got back was £300,000.

From the Observor Sunday 18 February 2007

To escape the fine, she signed over assets to her son. She then claimed her wealth extended to just £300,000, though estimates put her fortune at £69m. The council failed to pursue her. But a subsequent investigation proved she moved millions of pounds to her son via a complex web of companies.




The estate was full of these blocked up doors,
while people were still looking for places to live

PUBLIC ANGER: Lady Porter amid a hostile demonstration

There is a picture of Neil Kinnock, then Leader of the Opposition, standing next to this figure
in a demonstration outside Westminster City Council in Victoria Street.


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Updated August 4, 2011