I attended a meeting at the cathedral about the future of council housing.
I realise the Government is making huge financial cuts but my rent will go up by more than 6% next year and the council will have more than a billion pounds to spend over the next 30 years so why does the council want to close down Sheffield Homes. It isn’t broken and has worked well for the last eight years.
It is fully owned by and answerable to the council, yet the council wants to take over the management of council houses. It was Labour who wanted the ALMO in 2003, against the Lib Dems’ stock transfer option. So what happens if the Lib Dems return to power?
Sheffield Homes produces audited accounts that are available for inspection by tenants, if it is returned back in house, this would no longer be the case. Also if management of our homes is returned to the council, there will be no tenants on the board only the Cabinet to make decisions concerning our homes, behind closed doors.
Tenants need to know:
How do we know our rent will pay for the maintenance of our homes, rather than cross subsidising non-housing services within the council?
If rents go up by 6% or more next year, yet costs of salaries, contractor costs and interest rates are depressed, why is the Labour council getting rid of Sheffield Homes who have a track record of delivering excellent services and better value for money?
Has the council audited the business case? If so, who did it, what was the cost and what did it conclude?
Approximately 17% of rents pay for the cost of services provided by Sheffield Homes, a reduction from over 19% since 2008. The cost of Sheffield Homes services has reduced by about £3 million a year in real terms taking account of inflation. It cut staff by 22% due to fee reductions under Lib Dems
The council isn’t saying what cuts it will make, but the cabinet member said it will save ‘substantial amounts of money in management costs’. How does it plan to do this without affecting services?