Friday, 27 March 2015

Labour MPs launch attack on housing associations

Labour MPs have criticised housing associations for becoming too large and unaccountable.

Speaking during a debate at the House of Commons yesterday (Thursday 5) John McDonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington said: ‘Housing associations play a key role in providing social housing in my constituency, but they are not as they used to be.

‘I was involved in the development of the early housing associations, which were small and more like co-operatives.

‘They had specialist roles, particularly in relation to the elderly and people with disabilities. No one ever envisaged their becoming the large corporations that they are now. There has been merger after merger, and takeover after takeover. Many of the tenants cannot distinguish them from private landlords. Some of the management is extremely poor.’

Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington North, said he did not perceive any accountability in the majority of housing associations, while Andy Slaughter, MP for Hammersmith, said large associations were corporations in all but name.

Mr Slaughter said: ‘The trouble is that, while they would like to think that they are out there wheeling and dealing in the business world, they are very poorly run and are doing a very poor job for our tenants. It is a disgrace.

‘They are worse than the Tory councils in many respects, because their actions are not politically motivated. These are people whose only job is to provide affordable housing for people, and they simply are not doing it. That is a scandal which should be exposed.’

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