Friday, November 12, 2010

The money to improve your bathroom was spent bailing out the banks...

Yesterday's proposals for the allocation of (greatly reduced) funding to improve social housing which doesn't meet a standard of decency are noteworthy primarily for just how little a nation that could find billions to bail out bankers is prepared to find to combat squalor - just £260 Million nationally in the next financial year (http://www.homesandcommunities.co.uk/public/documents/DH-Backlog-Funding-for-Council-Landlords111110.pdf).

Lib Dems have once again excelled themselves in resurrecting another of the five giants (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beveridge_Report) identified by one of their most illustrious predecessors (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Beveridge?wasRedirected=true).

However, for those of us dealing still with Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMOs) there is a tiny silver lining.

ALMOs were an unlovely and unloved device used by New Labour's neoliberals in pursuit of their ideological obsession with the break up of democratically accountable local authorities.

Additional funding to improve Council housing would not - we were told at the time - be made available to "traditionally managed" Council Housing and so - up and down the country - tenants and Councillors were cajoled into accepting an ALMO as the "least worst" option to secure needed improvements in the state of the housing stock.

There will now be a single allocation process for all Council landlords to bid for the available pittance. There is therefore now no advantage in having an ALMO over and above a traditional housing department when it comes to accessing what little funding will be available.

There is therefore no longer a rationale for the duplication at senior levels - nor of expenditure on the governance costs - which arise from having an ALMO.

We face a hard fight to defend and improve public and social housing under the ConDems. Alliances between housing workers and tenants and residents will be vital.

ALMOs aren't likely to help and the sooner they are put out of our misery and the management of housing stock returned to local authorities the better.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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