It has emerged that there is a slippage of nearly £50m of Decent Homes funding in the Tower Hamlets Council budget. It is clear that local delivery of this funding is failing.
This money, part of a total Housing Revenue Account of £181m, will mean that funding slips from this financial year to the next causing misery for those waiting for improvements to social housing. It is vital that the programme is carried out over a realistic timeframe.
The Decent Homes Programme was introduced by the Labour Government - and protected from cuts by local Labour MPs.
Cllr Rachael Saunders, Leader of Tower Hamlets Labour Group, said:
“Labour introduced the Decent Homes Programme and defended it against cuts to ensure that funding remained in place to upgrade homes across the borough.
This funding slippage is very bad news and means that people will be waiting for improvements to social housing. With this issue and with some leaseholders being faced with incredibly high bills, local housing isn’t being delivered or managed properly.
Labour is holding Lutfur Rahman to account for this failure on behalf of local people. People are being forced to live in poor housing for longer because of his failure and that is simply unacceptable.”
Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green & Bow, said:
“One of my first actions as an MP was to ask the Prime Minister to commit to funding the Decent Homes programme and to lobby the Chancellor and Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to ensure that this money would be delivered for residents in the Borough. This campaign resulted in us successfully securing £165 million to help get homes up to a decent standard in Tower Hamlets.
The Council’s mismanagement of both the Decent Homes Programme and negotiations for improvements to leaseholder properties have left thousands of people worried about both the standard of their homes and the cost of improvements to them. That’s why we’ve recently launched our ‘Fair Deal for Leaseholders’ campaign - which highlights the Council’s failings in this area and asks them to think again on these issues.”
Jim Fitzpatrick, MP for Poplar & Limehouse, said:
“Housing is the biggest issue in Tower Hamlets. We need good management of the Decent Homes Programme and we need a fair deal for leaseholders.”