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Salford Council's shameful record on housing

The Labour MP Barbara Keeley, a Shadow Communities spokesman, stood up in Parliament this week to attack my council for its list of regulations we want the Government to scrap.

She said:

Councils such as Hammersmith and Fulham want to shake off what they view as burdensome duties, but the Opposition’s view is that those council services are vital and should be protected.

We propose lifting the statutory requirement for councils to produce strategy documents on array of subjects - including homelessness and rough sleeping. She objected to these "services" being cut. But producing glossy brochures doesn't provide homes. Can she really not tell the difference?

She might want to compare the supplementary tables produced by the DCLG showing how councils are performing on homelessness and notice that for my council in the latest figures show 871 households in temporary accommodation - compared to 1,697 in the second quarter of 2006 when Labour were last running my borough.

Perhaps it would help her to compare what my council actually achieves compared to, say, her local Labour Council of Salford. Where the latest figures show under "Duty Owed but no accommodation has been secured" a figure of 66 compared to 15 for my borough.

There is a lively local blog called the Salford Star which has asked the council is bulldozing 108 houses (at a cost of £228,000) instead of restoring them. No developer for the area has been confirmed.

She might consider how the number on the housing waiting list in Salford are 14,492 - that is equivalent to 14.8% of households. In my borough the figures are 11,956 which is 13.2%. Both figure are pretty high, of course, and there was a doubling of the housing waiting list during her Government to 1.8 million. But in Salford it has quadrupled in a decade.

Shouldn't Barbara Keeley start to focus on results rather meaningless strategy papers? Shouldn't she take more interest in her own Council's lamentable housing record?

By the way the Salford Star has been making excellent use of the spending transparency data. They have looked at Salford spending in February here and January here.

It says:

Did someone mention £40million of cuts? February's expenditure over £500 for Salford City Council knew no bounds as consultants, marketing companies and recruitment specialists all cashed in while budgets still allowed.

We have the ex deputy chief executive of Salford Council picking up over £13,000 in consultancy fees; we have `creative economy consultants' scooping nearly £26,000 – and the first £1million instalment of the loan to the City of Salford Stadium, jointly owned by Rich List climber John Whittaker and his Peel Holdings group.


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