Friday, 27 March 2009

Housing fat cats line their own pockets

Today's Daily Post reveals what happens when councils give away their housing to housing associations.
Tenants are told that the priority will be improving homes, but the first thing bosses at Cartrefi Conwy housing association did was put up their own wages. Tenants in Wrecsam were right to vote No in 2004 and, judging by feedback from my ward, I'm convinced will vote No again if there is another ballot.
Giving away 11,000 council houses to an outside body would be outsourcing on a grand scale by this council.

Cartrefi Conwy board member quits over 20% pay rise
A HOUSING association board member has quit and another has threatened to follow after senior staff were awarded a huge pay rise.
Melvyn Hill said he resigned from Cartrefi Conwy following the vote to give staff rises of between nine and 20%.
Councillor Chris Hughes said he was also considering his position as he was uncomfortable with some of the decisions being made.
Cartrefi Conwy, a privately owned, not for profit company, took over the ownership of Conwy’s 3,800 council homes last September promising to bring all houses and flats up to national standards by 2012.
Mr Hill said he believed the pay rises – voted through by eight votes to five – were excessive at this stage of the business.
“Cartrefi Conwy has only been trading six months and we are still delivering the promises to the tenants,” he said.
“We should be giving evidence we are providing that delivery – it is putting the cart before the horse.”
Councillor Hughes said of the increases: “I think the constituents have a right to know. Morally I’m quite frustrated by what is going on.”
Cartrefi Conwy took control of Conwy’s council homes following a ballot in November 2007. Just 50.8% voted in favour of the transfer and 49.2% against.
Heading the operation is Conwy’s former housing chief, Andrew Bowden.
The company promised to invest £58 million in repairs and improvements to bring all former council homes up to the Welsh Housing Quality Standard by 2012. It will borrow £36 million over the next five years to invest in properties and receive around £4 million annually from the Assembly.
Labour and Llandudno councillor Ronnie Hughes opposed the transfer of housing stock from the council and said he was furious.
“It seems to have got some consultants to look at the wage structure – but why now? There are people waiting for their kitchens, they’ve been promised the earth,” he said. “The wages are going to be paid for by people’s rent.
“I thought the idea was to get the houses up to standard by 2012, not an excuse for people to get a major wage rise.”
A spokesman for Cartrefi Conwy said: “This arrangement covers three years until 2010 as members of the senior team have not had a pay rise since 2007. The board commissioned highly experienced independent consultants to ensure that the whole process was conducted properly and transparently. No members of staff were involved in the process at any stage. The consultants’ recommendations were supported by the board.”

4 comments:

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

Mark Isherwood has a letter in tonight's Leader supporting Cartefi Conwy and stock transfer generally. He obviously doesn't understand how it all works...bet he hasn't got a clue about the millions of pounds that Welsh Councils send back to Westminster every year in housing subsidy, Housing Associations don't have to do that. If Local authorities had a level playing field they could meet the Welsh Quality Housing Standards...especially if we got rid of the top heavy management structure at Housing in Wrexham.

Plaid Queensway said...

I bet the 'consultants recommendations were supported by the board'. This really is outrageous but doesn't come as a surprise to me. Leeches.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

It's a nationwide trend when transfer takes place,that the housing executives who have done the hatchet job on the tenants get a large rise in salary.Cartrefi Conwy is the rule rather than the exception.

In the final analysis tenants must ask themeselves a simple straightforward question...do I want to hold on to my secure tenancy and let the local authority continue to be my landlord,or do I want to give up my secure tenancy and allow the bankers to become my landlord.???
I think with the recent revelations about bankers the only answer would be a definate NO!!!

There are rumours that there could possibly another attempt at transfer in Wrexham.
The last attempt was nothing short of disgraceful with Wrexham Tenants and Residents Association supporting the move.

If wrexham council want to go for transfer again I would like to inform them that last time the NO campaign were on a learning curve and we STILL got a no vote....this time not only will we get a definitive NO vote,but we will leave no stone unturned in exposing the hypocrasy of council officials,County councillors and so called "tenants representatives".
Transfer is stage one privatisation.
People are gradually waking up to the reality of privatisation.We have seen the devastating consequences in Transport,Utilities(Gas and Electricity)and now we see the biggest recession in history which is a child of de-regulation and handing the economy over to the privateers.
WE DONT WANT COUNCIL HOUSING TO GO THIS WAY....and if Wrexham council do decide to go ahead and throw another million pound away on attempt at privatisation,then the only thing they will get for their(our) money is a NO vote

Jim

Wrexham Against Stock Transfer said...

Spot on Jim - the No campaign last time didn't even leaflet the majority of tenants. This time we know where the tenants are, we've got access to cheap printing facilities and a far bigger network of activists willing to campaign.

The unions, which were split last time, are united against stock transfer this time round.

A million pounds will repair a lot of houses. Don't waste it on a pointless ballot you can't win!

Join the campaign - http://wrexhamagainststocktransfer.blogspot.com/