Monday, July 25, 2005

Future of Council Housing Stock

The Council has decided that its Council houses should continue to be managed in house by the Council. Other options included an Arms Length Management Company (ALMO), Stock Transfer to a Housing Association and a Private Finance Initiatives (a mixture of the 4 options).

A review had been insisted upon by the Government and it was a very important decision for the Council to make.

Tenants quite rightly have an expectation that their houses should be of decent standards. The Government has set us a minimum standard which we must meet and the Council has decided that it wants to go further and meet the full expectations of tenants.

Unfortunately in order to achieve this huge investment is needed.

Government policy is putting up rents year on year but it is not providing adequate funding to match. Tenants understandably fear that moving away from Council management will increase their rents further still.

The two options that really stood out were stock retention and transfer to a Housing Association.
Tenants and leaseholders were consulted widely with over 5,000 responding. 97% wanted to stay with the Council.

It would be quite wrong to go against such a clear signal from Council tenants.

However the decision to retain the stock will mean serious financial challenges for the Council over the years to come. The capital shortfall by 2035 will be close to a quarter of a billion pounds if we are to continue to invest money in order to meet tenant expectations. The current administration has no answer as to where this money is going to come from.

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