Row over housing budget

TENANTS and trade unionists have called on Sheffield Council to stop a £600,000 budget cut at the city's housing management company - and find the savings from a pot allocated to community groups instead.

Members of the Sheffield City Wide Tenants' Forum passed a motion calling on Sheffield Council to take the cash from funding allocated to the Your Community Your Choice initiative.

The scheme sets aside funding for community projects on Sheffield's housing estates - and tenants get the chance to choose which scheme should benefit.

Sheffield Homes is proposing to make 600,000 savings by freezing incremental pay rises for its staff over the next two years.

Peter Davies, organiser for the GMB trade union, said: "Currently the only proposal on the horizon to make the savings is a two-year increment freeze.

"A tenant and GMB member put a proposal to the meeting that the Your Community Your Choice budget is transported to Sheffield Homes Management Budget and used to provide better services to the tenants and residents of Sheffield. The proposal was seconded by a TARA rep and duly voted on by those in attendance.

"The meeting agreed unanimously with the proposal."

Sheffield Council's ruling Lib Dems say they will consider the proposal when the cabinet meets to vote on housing finance on Wednesday.

Other items to be discussed include implementing a 6.8 per cent rent rise.

But a spokesman for the group said: "It looks like the GMB are asking to take the money tenants choose to spend in order to finance pay rises."

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