Rates demo threat to mayor's big day

Standard Reporter

THE mayor-making ceremony in Waltham Forest tomorrow looks like being overshadowed by a major demonstration.

Residents are planning two marches from each end of the borough to maintain their protest against the council's 62.2 per cent rate rise, disrupting the installation of long serving councillor Bill Pearmine as mayor.

Nearly a month ago 5,000 demonstrated at the town hall. Ratepayers Action Group organiser Martin Baxter is this time hoping 50,000 will attend.

The marches will launch a petition urging Environment Secretary Nicholas Ridley to intervene.

The council's ruling Labour group says the increase is necessary to boost expenditure on social services and education.

It claims rates would have had to be increased by at least 25 per cent to keep in line with inflation.

But the Ratepayers Group says lawyers it has consulted believe it has a valid legal case to take action against the council.

Since the last council meeting the retiring mayor, Mohmmad Kahn, and council leader Neil Gerrard have been forced to move from their homes. Mr Khan has received a number of bomb hoax telephone calls and Mr Gerrard had a petrol bomb thrown at his front door.

All Labour councillors have been receiving obscene late night calls after posters with their home telephone numbers were distributed by an anonymous group.

They have also been heckled at neighbourhood consultation meetings throughout the borough.

INDEX May 6, 1987
London Evening Standard May 6, 1987. Click to return to index