Shelter’s Campaigns Director misrepresented the law to the agent it harassedMake Text Bigger
Does the truth not matter to Shelter? Click here
On 16 October the campaign of harassment by Shelter’s supporters against Ludlow Thompson (LT) culminated in instructions to the firm from Greg Beales, Director of Communications, Policy & Campaigns. Click here
Beales stated that “In order to comply with the Equality Act and genuinely end discrimination you must not market any properties that seek to exclude tenants receiving housing benefit from being considered equally.”
This was not correct. Discrimination against HB claimants does not infringe the Equality Act because being an HB claimant is not a protected characteristic. He already knew that.
On 17 August he had written “In the next few months Shelter intends to bring a series of test cases to court which challenge those who refuse to consider letting to people on benefits and to ask the courts whether their practices are lawful or are in fact indirect discrimination.” Click here
He included a link to the initial instruction for Shelter’s supporters to harass LT. This said that banning people on housing benefit “could be” unlawful. Click here
A few days later Beales appeared on a TV programme and said “Our intent over the next few months is to bring a series of test cases to ask the courts to look at this closely, ……to ask them to say it’s unlawful.” Click here
Of course, Beales may not have intended to deceive LT. He may have been misled by his minions Kojo and James, who told supporters that Ludlow Thompson were “definitely in the wrong”, as they incited further harassment in September and October. click here and here
To motivate supporters they used nonsensical claims. Kojo wrote “It’s small actions like this which help make housing better for all of us”. So harass an agent and everyone’s housing situation will somehow improve, including your own.
James wrote “It’s small actions like this which help more people find a home”. This is also nonsense. There is a fixed number of homes available to rent at any given time. If Shelter’s bullying managed to make another property available to an HB claimant, which is unlikely, then it would be instead of a non-claimant who needed a home. The number of households will not increase through harassment of an agent.
The campaign continued with a petition in October which described discrimination as potentially unlawful.
Beales is a former Downing Street adviser to Prime Ministers Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, and formerly Director of Strategy and Planning for the Labour Party.
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