Council has ‘no definite’ savings plan for housing

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SHEFFIELD Council’s housing supremo has revealed the authority does not know how much will be saved by scrapping management company Sheffield Homes.

In a report ahead of a ballot of tenants about whether 42,000 houses should return to council control, council officials revealed that £1.2 million a year would be saved on costs through the move.

The document, circulated to councillors, read: “We expect to save £1.2 million per year or £36 million over the next 30 years. All of this will be spent on your home and housing service.”

But Coun Harry Harpham, cabinet member for housing, told The Star: “No savings plan has been worked out and we will be talking to Sheffield Homes staff, trade unions and tenants about what sort of services should be provided in the future.

“The £1.2 million figure came from looking at what other councils had saved and that was the sort of amount we might be able to achieve in Sheffield. It is not a definite amount.”

Sheffield Homes is the top-rated housing management firm in the country, according to Government ratings.

But Coun Harpham said he believes savings could be made in management costs at Sheffield Homes, which spends almost £750,000 on the salaries of 11 senior staff.

Outgoing chief executive Peter Morton, who is taking early retirement, has been on a salary of £128,000 a year.

Workers at Sheffield Homes have accused the council of not allowing the company to promote its record before the council ballot, won overwhelmingly by the council,

Staff say they are unhappy about the uncertainty over their future.

Coun Harpham has said he can provide ‘no assurance’ over which jobs will are safe.