Controversial Plans for Council Homes Scrapped

The move has come under fire from the Tories

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Controversial plans for the management of Ealing’s council houses have been scrapped.

Councillors voted to immediately halt the plans, which would see the management of homes put out to tender as three separate contracts when the council’s agreement with Ealing Homes ends in March 2011.

Council officers will now draw up alternative proposals to return Ealing’s council homes and estates to the direct management of the council. Before any changes are made to the way homes are managed, the council will consult with tenants and leaseholders on the plans.

Councillor Julian Bell, Leader of the council’s majority Labour Group, said:

“Letting private companies bid to manage our housing was totally unacceptable. I’m delighted that we have taken decisive action to scrap these controversial plans. We will now come up with plans to bring management of homes under the council’s direct control, but we will ensure all residents get the chance to have their say before anything is finalised.”

The motion was passed at an extraordinary meeting of the full council called immediately after the election to prevent the plans being taken any further. Officers will now work up more detailed proposals which will be brought back before the council’s Cabinet.

However the decision has been come under fire. the conservatives say that Council tenants will be the first casualty with hefty rent increases to come.

Leader of the Opposition, Cllr Jason Stacey said he was disappointed that Labour had not accepted his amendment to cap rents at a rate of increase not greater than inflation.

He said:

“Labour have every right to change the way they manage Council services, but it was plain from the debate tonight that when it comes to Council housing they are driven more by ideology than wanting to keep down costs or improve the level of service for Council tenants.

“In four years of control, Conservatives managed to keep Council rent increases below the rate of inflation. The reason Labour can’t and won’t make this same commitment is they know that bringing the service back in-house will be more expensive for tenants.”




May 20, 2010