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Misleading ‘Home Life’ ?

August 16, 2009

‘Stop Press’ in the latest edition of ‘Home Life, which RBK puts out to Council tenants contains the statement that

‘Housing Minister John Healey announced that Councils will be able to keep all the income from rents and sales of housing in the future’.

It goes on to claim that this would end the current subsidy system by which 31p in every pound of rents paid go to the Government to subsidise other authorities’ housing. At the moment 75% of authorities pay the subsidy and the remaining 25% receive the payments.

Reading the quote from Cllr. Penny Shelton which accompanies this , it would appear to many that all problems are now over and we can spend an extra £20 million on housing repairs over the next three years. We know that some tenants have interpreted this article in precisely this way.

All very well and good – but we have some questions we would want answered:

  • Where did this ‘announcement’ actually come from? With the aid of Google we have unearthed statements from Mr. Healey dated 21st July talking about consultation on housing finance, the period for which will end at the end of October. This doesn’t look to us like a definite commitment, even if there is a welcome indication of intent.
  • Assuming the availability of this £20m, how far will this go towards dealing with the shortfall in repairs over years, as revealed and costed by the recent Housing Condition Survey?
  • Is there a possibility that, as Cllr. Shelton seems to suggest, the Government’s final proposals might leave ‘Kingston in no better position to maintain the properties than they have been for quite a few years’?

We ask because we, and Council tenants in this Ward, would really like to know.

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