Our Executive Committee

LHG is a democratically governed, member-led organisation. Our executive committee is elected by all members every two years. The current executive is elected to June 2020.

John Cotton

John is a Birmingham councillor. He has served as Cabinet Member for Housing and Health, leading a new build council housing programme that delivered a record number of new council homes and protecting services for the homeless from Government cuts.

John worked with LHG to launch Birmingham’s Homelessness Manifesto – a plan to tackle the homelessness crisis created by this appalling Tory Government. John is currently working with colleagues to set up a new LHG branch in Birmingham.

Fixing the housing crisis and making sure everyone has a decent affordable home must be the priority for the next Labour Government. As an LHG EC member, John will work with all members to develop policies that make that vision a reality.

Cllr John Bevan

John is a councillor in the London Borough of Haringey. He was previously Cabinet Member for Housing. John is Chair of LHC (National Housing Consortium). LHC is a non-profit making group specialising in housing procurement issues for social landlords. John is Design Champion for Haringey, emphasis on improving housing design / long term maintenance issues.

John has first-hand knowledge of all housing issues in the public / private sector. This includes right to buy, affordable rent, social rent and private rent (including housing benefit cap issues), private sector viability issues for new build, for sale, shared ownership and for social provision including knowledge of the planning system.

John has knowledge and continuing involvement in ongoing major regeneration / redevelopment schemes concerning social housing estates and smaller sites.

John is the Vice Chair and Auditor of LHG.

Sheila Spencer

Sheila believes that housing is a critical issue across the country and that Labour has great housing policies – but many people, including many members, do not yet know how Labour intends to solve the current housing crisis when next in power.

Sheila wants to see Labour in the forefront of people’s minds when they consider what needs to change.

Sheila has re-joined LHG Executive after a gap of many years. She has worked all her life in housing – in the areas of homelessness, supported housing and housing need. Sheila was a city councillor in Newcastle and is retired.

Sheila is an active member of LHG’s North East Branch.

Paul Eastwood

Paul has been Chair of LHG since 2016, and previously served on the EC as Secretary for 6 years. He has worked in housing since 1980, and held senior positions with four local authorities. Paul has been Chief Executive with four housing associations, and has also carried out several assignments on a consultancy basis. In his career Paul has managed several major regeneration schemes, led a large national housing provider to accreditations for excellence, and always brought a keen customer focus to service delivery. Paul is based in Hemel Hempstead and served two terms as a Dacorum borough councillor. He has worked on election campaigns across England since the early 1970s. He is very keen that LHG grows its membership and influence through a thriving branch network, and develops its role as a supporter to local elected members and MPs.

Cllr Heather Johnson

Heather has a professional background in the field of housing, homelessness and welfare rights advice and had a particular interest in campaigning for better rights for tenants in the private rented sector. Heather has been a councillor in the London Borough of Camden since 1994. Heather served as Vice Chair of Housing for some years and is currently Chair of Planning. Heather consequently brings many years of experience in these areas to LHG. Heather has been an active member of the LHG Exec Committee for some years taking on practical roles in the organisation of fringe meetings and policy days.

Cllr Katherine Dunne

Katherine is cabinet member for Communities at the London Borough of Hounslow, previously she was cabinet member for Housing. Katherine is Chair of Hounslow Health and Wellbeing Board and was formerly chair of the Hounslow Together Welfare Reform Group (bringing together housing providers and support services to help residents affected by welfare reform). Katherine helped set up Hounslow Community FoodBox, a community foodbank and charity.

Katherine has been LHG secretary from 2016. Katherine’s other Labour Party activities include providing training for Labour Women’s Network and the Jo Cox Women in Leadership programme. Katherine was parliamentary candidate for Twickenham in 2017.

Cllr Ross Houston

Ross has been LHG Treasurer since 2009. Ross is also an EC member of the active LHG London branch. Ross has been involved in the setting up of the new LHG website launched at our 2018 AGM.

Ross has been a councillor in the London Borough of Barnet since 2006. Ross is currently Deputy Labour Group Leader and Labour Spokesperson on Assets, Regeneration and Growth. Ross is a council appointed board member of Barnet Group/Barnet Homes. Ross works for a housing association with a strong social ethos. Ross is vice-chair of a successful regeneration partnership (West Euston Partnership); a board member Camden’s Third Age Project and primary school chair of governors. Ross is currently leader of the Labour Group on the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority. Ross is an active housing campaigner challenging the Tory housing agenda in Barnet, particularly around estate regeneration and failing to deliver affordable homes. Ross supports the Mayor of London’s Guide to Estate Regeneration which Mayor Sadiq Khan and Jeremy Corbyn launched in February on Barnet’s West Hendon estate. Ross has been a Labour party member for 30 years and has been both branch and CLP chair and was Labour agent for Chipping Barnet in the 2005 General Election.

Ed Derrick

Ed joined the Labour Party in 1974 and is a member of Newcastle Central CLP and a life member of Unison. Ed was a Newcastle City Councillor from 1983-95 and was agent for Vera Baird in the 2016 PCC Election in Northumbria. Ed has been Chair, Secretary and Treasurer at Branch and CLP level at various times in Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle. Ed is a long-standing member of LHG Executive, and currently editor of LHG’s newsletter. Ed was a full housing worker in academic and local government organisations from 1975 to 2010. Ed’s main areas of interest are the promotion and development of public housing, housing investment in general and more widely in environmental issues, and local government.

Janet Berry

Janet is a council tenant, and lives in S.E. England. She has been actively involved in tenants’ associations and tenant participation activities over a considerable period of time. From 2012-2016 Janet was a Councillor at Winchester City Council. She has worked for many years in the field of community development in areas of deprivation. Janet is keen to ensure that there is an effective voice for tenants, in all areas of housing, at local and national level. Janet welcomes the opportunity to continue working with the Labour Housing Group in their efforts to make sure that housing gets the attention it deserves.

Paul Martin

Paul lived in council housing for nearly forty years before buying a house through shared ownership. He was active in a Tenant Management Co-op for over ten years, serving as Rent Treasurer.

Paul remains convinced that publicly-owned, high quality rented homes are vital for society as a whole.

Paul has been a Labour Party member continuously since 1982, serving as a Branch Secretary, CLP Secretary, Treasurer and Vice-Chair Membership. Ross is currently Membership Secretary of the Socialist Educational Association. Paul is a member of Poplar and Limehouse CLP.

Paul has a long-standing interest in policy making and would like to see Labour’s Affiliated Societies play a bigger part in those areas in which they have expertise.

Cllr Amanda Pinnock

Amanda is a qualified Housing Solicitor. Amanda is employed by a voluntary sector organisation and manages a legal team. Amanda’s role entails representing members of the public on evictions, welfare benefit issues, disrepair, homelessness, etc.

Amanda is a councillor representing a ward in Huddersfield on Kirklees Council. Amanda has been on the Council’s planning committee and is currently engaged in negotiations with the Council and developers to fulfil the council’s local plan agenda.

Amanda brings a wealth of technical and legal knowledge, in depth experience and skills at various levels to benefit the LHG Executive.

Amanda is most interested in raising awareness, highlighting inequities, challenging the Government’s rhetoric on housing and promoting Labour Party values.

Kerry Pollard

Kerry has had a passionate interest in Housing all his adult life. Kerry feels that the provision of decent affordable accommodation has never been more relevant or important than now. Labour has rightly put housing front and centre in its thinking.

Kerry was the MP for St Albans from 1997-2005. In Parliament Kerry was chair of Labour’s Parliamentary Housing Group. Kerry has been on the Boards of various housing associations – big and small and specialist. Kerry was a councillor on Hertfordshire County Council and St Alban’s District Council. Kerry was portfolio holder for both Housing and Planning. Kerry founded the Open Door night shelter in St Albans 28 years ago and is Chair of Trustees to this day. Kerry was formerly CEO of a Housing Association.

Kerry has been a member of LHG for many years and was Chair until 2016.

Cllr Sharon Thompson

Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Homes and Neighbourhoods, Councillor Sharon Thompson, has been a Councillor since 2014. She served as Victims Champion for the city from 2014-2015, before becoming the local authority’s first Ambassador for addressing Homelessness and Rough sleeping . In 2016 she became the Cabinet Advisor for Homelessness from 2017-2018 and relinquished the position in May 2018 when she was appointed to Cabinet.

She has political responsibility for many are as such as housing including;Homelessness and Private Rented Sector Policy, alongside Bereavement Services, Localisation, Parks and Allotments.

Keen to promote and improve Birmingham for its citizens, Sharon is a strong advocate for collaborative partnerships, with an authentic and inclusive approach to leadership. She has been a passionate advocate for eradicating homelessness and spearheaded Birmingham’s Homelessness Prevention Strategy 2017+ which is partnership focused in its outcomes.

In her remit as a Councillor, Sharon has also served on St Basils board of directors and the Commonwealth Games 2022 Members Advisory Group.

She is currently the local authority representative on West Midlands Combined Authority Housing and Land Delivery Board, ARCH (Association of Retained Council Housing) and SIFA Fireside. Sharon currently chairs the WMCA Homelessness Members Advisory Group and Birmingham Social Housing Partnership.