Last month the Labour Council finally abandoned their stock transfer proposals – which would have meant handing over all the council housing in the borough to a new housing assocation.
They gave the reason that the Government had refused to write off the debt. But when did they know about this?
After some delay the Council have told me:
“At a meeting on 28 January 2016 between officers of the Council and the DCLG, the latter confirmed that the traditional funding route for stock transfers by Local Authorities was no longer available.”
So a whole year of wasted money on consultants, lawyers and PR men – on a project that was unwanted anyway.
Also the costs turn out to be much higher than claimed – as the figures did not include the time spent by council staff. The Council says the project formed only “a small part of their day to day work.” Really? I have been told the time spent on it was very considerable.
Let us remember that the salaries for senior housing officers are very high. The Director of Housing Services, for instance, is paid £104,669 a year. The project has been a terrible distraction from the real priorities like improving the repairs service.