Government axes national tenant body
The body set up to give social housing tenants a bigger say on the national stage is to be scrapped as part of the government’s ‘bonfire of the quangos’.
Housing minister Grant Shapps met with National Tenant Voice chief executive Richard Crossley and chair Michael Gelling on Tuesday and told them the body, which was set up by the previous government, would no longer receive government funding.
Government officials claimed that the NTV was ‘too distant’ and did not represent value for money.
Mr Crossley said he was ‘bitterly disappointed’, and that the tenants he had broken the news to so far were ‘angry and upset’.
‘Tenants will see the newcomer axing the National Tenant Voice as a signal that the government is not on their side.’
Shadow housing minister John Healey
Mr Shapps has allowed Mr Gelling and the NTV board to explore ways the NTV’s work might continue without government funding.
The council, which had 50 unpaid tenant representatives and a budget of £1 million, received 1,500 applications from tenants across the country. Its budget, which it had already cut by £500,000, had been frozen pending a decision on its future.
Barry Duckett, chair of Canada Estate Tenants and Residents Association in south London, said: ‘Surely it is trying to muffle the views of tenants. How will they liaise with tenants if they have no group to talk to?’
Shadow housing minister John Healey said: ‘This was set up with tenants, for tenants and run by tenants, who will see the newcomer axing the National Tenant Voice as a signal that the government is not on their side.’
A Communities and Local Government department spokesperson said it was keen for tenants to have a more influential role.
He said: ‘The best way to achieve that it by putting more power and voice direct into the hands of tenants.’
The news emerged shortly after the Homes and Communities Agency confirmed two funding programmes for housing will be scrapped.
Kickstart, which aims to breathe life into stalled schemes, and the local authority new build programme, which has seen some councils provide their first homes for decades, will not continue after final decisions are made about which of this year’s schemes will go ahead.
January 2009 NTV project group publishes report on how the final organisation should be run
Early 2010 NTV funding cut from £1.5 million to £1.25 million
February 2010 National Tenant Voice set up
March 2010 Members of the 15-strong board appointed.
April 2010 NTV appoints Michael Gelling as chair and Richard Crossley as its chief executive
May 2010 £89,000 cut from NTV budget by coalition government