Monday, February 22, 2010

Could You Survive a 25% Rent Increase?

Could you afford to stay in your home if your rent or mortgage went up 25%? At a time of recession, when everyone is feeling the pinch in some way or other, few pockets or bank balances could support such a hike. Yet that is precisely the proposal facing Gay's the Word.

The nation's only dedicated LGBT bookshop, recently celebrating its 31st anniversary in its original Bloomsbury location, is a central London institution . As well as being a bookshop it is a resource, advice-shop and drop-in centre for many people within and from outside the capital. It is doing good business too - but not so good that it can absorb the overnight rent increase of 25% proposed by Camden Council.

Assistant Manager, Uli Lenart, comments that while Camden has one of the most dynamic LGBTQ local authority forums in London, one that it should be rightly proud of, it seems to be suffering from a lack of joined- up thinking. "We are reasonable people," he says, "and happy to engage with Camden about a reasonable rent increase. We don't make tangible profits, or pay ourselves large wages; we exist to provide a community service and a unique national outlet for queer literature. Camden should be doing all it can to support local businesses, not sticking the knife in."

"It'd be a political, cultural, communal and human loss if it went.” – Ali Smith

Gay's the Word

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