Peterborough Labour leader defends landlord record after criticism from tenants union
The leader of the Labour group on Peterborough City Council has defended his record as a landlord after being criticised by a local tenants’ group.
Cllr Shaz Nawaz said his business activities are not “incompatible” with his values as a Labour councillor or against the interests of working people.
The member for Park ward said under his leadership the Labour group has “consistently called for action to tackle homelessness and the shortage of decent affordable housing in our city,” including a recent election pledge to build 3,000 new council houses.
Cllr Nawaz, a chartered accountant, was replying to an open letter from the Peterborough Tenants Union which said it was “disappointed” that he was promoting services “instructing subscribers how to maximise their profit from property”.
It claimed that his work is “incongruous” with the aims of the Labour Party while asking him for more information on the local party’s housing policies.
In his response, Cllr Nawaz wrote: “Yes, I have done well in my business in the last 12 months and I make no apologies for that. I have built many more homes during a nationwide shortage of housing, a proportion of which will be rented out by housing associations in Lincolnshire at affordable rates.
“I have helped many tenants become first-time buyers through my advice, something that millions of working people in our country continue to aspire to. I have also supported my own valued tenants throughout the pandemic and can say honestly that I have never had a single complaint because I make it my business to ensure my tenants and their families are able to enjoy the homes.”
He added: “I am not ashamed of my business performance. My parents moved to Britain to create a better life for their family. I have used that opportunity to better myself and, through hard work and perseverance, I now have a decent business and employ and sub-contract to over 100 people who live mainly in and around Peterborough.”
He continued: “I am proud of the Labour group’s record on challenging the Conservative-made housing crisis in Peterborough and we will continue to call for action on this and campaign on policies that will finally begin to tackle this crisis if implemented.”