Lib Dems Ask for Council Measures on Ealing Homes
Asking for involvement of residents with management
Liberal Democrat Leader Gary Malcolm is urging the Council to not just take Ealing Homes ‘in house’ but to ensure that residents are involved with its management.
Ealing Homes - an arms length management organisation (ALMO) - looks after 19,000 council homes (including 5,000 leaseholders) in the borough on behalf of the council.
It's run by an independent board of directors but Ealing Council is its only shareholder and remains the landlord of the homes.
An Audit Commission inspection in 2008 downgraded Ealing Homes from two stars to one star and a report highlighted a number of problems including budgeting and complaints with repair works.
The previous Conservative administration aimed to wind up the organisation at the end of March 2011 and to tender out housing management contracts to specialist groups.
However, in his first major move since taking control of on Friday, Leader Julian Bell has convened the council tonight for the sole purpose of reversing that position.
The motion being debated is:
“This Council resolves that with immediate effect its support for privatising the Management Contract of Ealing Homes is removed. The Council mandates officers to immediately draw up proposals to return Ealing Homes to direct management by the Council.”
The move has already come under fire.
Conservative Councillor Phil Taylor says it will be the tenants who will suffer:
''The Labour solution is to bring the whole thing in house. This one move alone will increase council tax for all residents by 2% or lead to a massive increase in council house rents and service charges. Tenants and leaseholders will have to deal with town hall bureaucrats who have no incentive to give them a good, inexpensive service.
Meanwhile Liberal Democrat Councillor Gary Malcolm said, “The Liberal Democrats want to see the housing in Ealing improved dramatically in the next four years. To do that will mean a focussed effort and to involve tenants and leaseholders in the management regime. This way every party will be more motivated to succeeding instead of looking to make profits for themselves.”
May 18, 2010