Spending rent cash on basics

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In response to Coun Denise Reaney (Feb 21), here are the reasons why the Green councillors voted to return the £800,000 of Your Communities Your Choice money to Sheffield Homes.

It is tenants’ rent money which should be spent on basic services like repairs and dealing with antisocial behaviour. Many YCYC projects were good, but they did not always benefit council house tenants who pay the rent.

In 2009/10, it cost Sheffield Homes £300,000 to distribute the £600,000 of YCYC money. That is £1 on administration for every £2 on projects!

The process was not democratic. All tenants could vote at the events, but decisions were made by those who turned up on the day, on the basis of a very short presentation.

The total attendance for all events (covering 42,000 properties) was 336. That’s a turnout of less than 1 per cent.

We do not accept that the money will now be used to increase the pay of Sheffield Homes staff or stop them making efficiency savings. They have already had their budget cut in real terms.

As councillors, we will continue to push Sheffield Homes to improve its services. We know that tenants and residents associations and the boards do the same.

We do not think that using rent money for YCYC is a substitute for democratic control and good management.

Coun Jillian Creasy, Central ward, Green Party