Keith Cooper says that the debate has been one-sided, and that the problems of authorities that currently depend on subsidy are being underplayed.
This could not be further from the truth. The Chartered Institute of Housing recognises that the central problem to be resolved is the cost of the historic debt held by many inner-city councils, which they cannot pay for from rental income. Without a solution to this problem, no reform can work. That was the motivation behind the earlier pilot exercise to look at self-financing for council housing, and it is a key part of the current review. The CIH’s own submission to the review will certainly address this issue.
It would be a pity if debate degenerated into a battle between those getting subsidy and those paying into the system. All authorities have an interest in common, which is to have a sustainable finance system that works for everyone and which also addresses the problems of lack of transparency and of rents not being related to services received. The CIH will not support any reform which ‘replaces one unfair system with another’.
John Perry, policy advisor, CIH