Fury at drugs and brothel claim

By Harriet Ernstsons Friday 15 February 2013 Updated: 18/02 10:16

A BOROUGH councillor has sparked outrage after claiming Redditch's council houses are being used for prostitution and growing illegal drugs.

Speaking during a debate on future house building in the borough, Coun Mike Braley said he felt the current waiting list for a council home did not accurately represent need as it contained duplications as well as people wanting to move to Redditch because housing was cheaper than neighbouring areas.

"It is made worse of course by the fact you have a misuse of social housing with the wrong people in them and people using them as cannabis houses and houses of prostitution," he told an executive committee meeting on Tuesday (February 12).

"There are all sorts of misuses with the wrong size families and the wrong age people."

Speaking to the Standard after the meeting, Coun Mark Shurmer - responsible for housing on the borough council - said it was 'outrageous' to generalise members of society in that way.

"The vast majority of council tenants are law abiding, hard working people. My grandmother and grandfather were council tenants and don't fit in to those categories, they are good hard working people and a lot of people can say that about their relations or friends.

"I'd advise Coun Braley to get a life, get out more and meet a wider group of people. This is an offensive generalisation and is not true in most cases."

Redditch Mayor Alan Mason, who lives in a council house in Abbeydale, said he took 'great umbrage' at Coun Braley's comments.

"I live in a council house and I can assure you I haven't got a drug farm in the back garden and my wife's not running a brothel," he said.

"A man of his standing shouldn't be saying things like that and just because people are living in council houses it doesn't mean to say they are what he's trying to paint them with.

"I am not happy and take it personally for all my constituents in Abbey who are like my extended family."

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