April 14, 1987 INDEX

Rate-row council chief 'in danger'

by Shekhar Bhatia and David Meilton

THREATS have been made against the deputy leader of a rate-row council, it was disclosed today.

This follows a police investigation into a firebomb attack on the home of Waltham Forest Council's Labour leader, Mr Neil Gerrard.

Mr Gerrard and his newly-elected Labour administration have caused outrage among thousands of ratepayers by implementing a 62 per cent rate rise. Now a campaign of hate has been launched against some of the councillors.

Deputy leader Mr Bill Dennis revealed that phone callers to his Leyton home had warned him he was in danger.

"These people are either criminally insane or neo-facists," said. "I don't believe they have anything to do with the 2000 people who held a demonstration outside the town hall last week."

He said young children of Labour councillors had been sworn at and abused by hate-callers simply because they answered phone calls meant for their parents.

"This isn't going to change anything," he said. "The rate rise is going ahead as decided.


"We live in a democracy where we will listen to opinions but when people start .getting violent, it is getting out of hand."

He said a leaflet carrying the name, address and telephone number of the council leader had been circulating in Waltham Forest. The person behind it remained a mystery.

Mr Dennis added:" I am not afraid. I have not asked for police protection but I think they are doing a good job keeping an eye on Neil's home."

He said council staff were on hand to help ratepayers who could show legitimate reasons why they could not afford the rate rise.

"We have been urging people who are entitled to benefits to make claims and their are staff on hand ready to help."

Mr Gerrard said the opposition against the rates increase was within the bounds of normal political activity.

But he added:" What I have been getting goes a long way beyond that.

London Evening Standard April 14, 1987.
Click to return to index