Friday, 27 February 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.’

Readers' comments (50)

  • Ivana Hart

    Wow, not often I agree with a bunch of Labour MPs these days but what else can be said other than Bravo Sirs, Well Said. Unfortunately all this happened under your watch during 13 years of NuLab so I guess you only have yourselves to blame...

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  • There should be a limit on how big a social landlords can be. And this should be no more than 25,000 homes.
    All the largest HA should be broken down to this, and parts of them offered to tenants to run as cooperatives. Only then we would see some accountability.

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  • Un. Be. Lieve. Able.

    "You reap what you sow."

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  • The REALLY funny thing in this (the brilliant punchline!) is of course that it was under Labour that Associations were scare-mongered into merging/growing: bigger was better, else you wont get that development cash! And then once we had loads of big, national organisations those loveable Labour scamps decided "actually, the trendy new thing is to put the emphasis on 'local' standards.

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  • BlokeWithAConscience

    I'm really confused now. Didn't we witness New Labour promoting stock transfer which resulted in the loss of millions of council houses into the private sector? Unless it was a alternative dimension in my mind I recall slippery consultants charging LAs exhorbitant fees to spin yarns to tenants regarding the virtues of housing associations. It's a funny old world isn't it!

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  • I've been saying since I joined here that housing associations have got too big and too much like corporations. Particularly L&Q and Peabody - their tenants are frightened in my experience.

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  • These comments by the Labour bit of the Con/LibDem/NewLabour coalitrion would not have been said if it had been the red bit that had won the May 2010 election.

    I am physically sickened by the sheer chutzpah of Labour MPs who can say these things now after they acclerated the privatisation of council homes started by the Tories, after they completely reneged on pre-1997 election promises to start buidling council homes again and after they encouraged housing assocations to merge into mega-landlords.

    Rest assured if Milibrain is ever in a position to form a government, such comments will be very quickly forgotten and it will be business as usual. Which we can all see in the housing policies currently being propogated and enacted by Call-me-Dave and Cleggless the Loser.

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  • Chris

    AV or no AV is a moot question when there is no alternative to vote for anyway. Maybe if the Labour Party were to publically recognise it was wrong to dump it's birthright and principles to convert to Thatcherite Consumerism then the arguments being put forward could have a little more credibility.

    Being humble before being expectant may be a better approach.

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  • I would have thought that eighteen years off the pot was enough to convince the Labour party that if it kept its birthright it was never going to get on the pot.

    A virgin in a vain search for an immaculate conception and divine parturition. It ain't ever going to happen.

    Correction: always possible for some; those destined to remain marooned in short-trousers - and duff ideas like "Thatcherite Consumerism" - for most of their lives.

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  • i do dispear at this

    Why do you think HA's have grown massively in the last 13 years?! Its because New Labour FAILED to invest more money in Council Housing/ Local Authority Housing Projects, they instead decided in order to reduce council waiting lists by make it manditory for all HAs to close their waiting lists and only accept nominations from local authorities (or at least is the case in London). Further more they threw money at HA's to develop new homes.

    And now you want to chop us up because we have grown too much? After we have taken the strain for some considerable time?

    Lets also remember that under investment in care services means that HAs have had to step up and provide these, with Local Authorities having to pay HA's to provide support officers for those whom the Local Authority has referred to our properties because Local Authorities cant afford to provide this care, now when the funding is withdrawn they seize upon this and say we are lacking in these areas

    Mr McDonnald, please stick to what you are best at and leave the business of Social Housing to those involved in the game, rather then dabbling in it as you appear to be.

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