CONSERVATIVES TO PUT SPOTLIGHT ON HOUSING ISSUES AT FULL COUNCIL MEETING
- Housing repairs backlog doubles in a year from 3,204 to 6,960; will take at least two years to clear.
- 277 Council properties are sitting empty and un-let.
- Brighton and Hove City Council facing legal action for treatment of homeless and rough sleepers during pandemic.
The Conservatives are set to bring evidence of significant failings of Brighton and Hove City Council’s management of Housing to the attention of Thursday’s Full Council meeting.
Housing is a major area of service delivery at the Council, with a stock of 11,000 council properties across the city that need to be managed as well as services provided for homeless and rough sleepers.
The Conservative Housing team is set to present evidence to the Council meeting of poor performance by the Council across three areas:
- Housing repairs service backlog: The Council’s decision to insource the housing repairs service in 2020 from the previous private contractor has left the service relied upon by tenants of Council houses and properties in disarray:
- New statistics show that the backlog of housing repairs requests has doubled from 3,204 to 6,960 in the last 12 months, which the Council estimate will take at least two years to clear.
- New figures show that the industrial dispute and strike of housing repairs workers in 2020 that followed the insourcing policy has cost £2.287m to resolve, to be paid by council tenants and leaseholders contributions to the Housing Revenue Account.
- Empty properties: New figures show that the number of empty council properties has risen from 160 last year to 277 this year. There are examples of properties sitting empty for months if not years on end as a result of the council’s inability to undertake repairs to bring vacant properties to a lettable standard.
- Treatment of Homeless and Rough Sleepers: The Council is facing legal action from neighbouring authorities for placement of homeless and rough sleepers without adequate support.
Conservative Housing Spokesperson Cllr Mary Mears said that Housing was an area that needs particular scrutiny from Conservatives and the general public and that she would be bringing these matters into full view at the meeting of Full Council on Thursday.
“Labour and the Greens run a joint programme in Housing as part a Coalition agreement, meaning that this is an area that needs particular scrutiny from Conservatives and the general public” Cllr Mears said.
“The performance of the Council on Housing is in its worst ever state, with Council house tenants and homeless paying the price for the shambles.
“The ideological decision to insource the housing repairs service by Labour and the Greens has been a complete failure, blowing out in cost; leading to immediate strike action and a costly settlement; and generating a backlog that has doubled in the past 12 months and will take at least two years to clear.
“The number of council homes sitting vacant and un-let has risen to 277 and we are seeing properties sit empty for months if not years as a result of the council’s inability to undertake repairs to bring these properties to a lettable standard.
“Despite the Council having reported receiving Government funding totalling £21 million to address homelessness and rough-sleeping from the start of the pandemic, evidence has emerged that the City has placed homeless people and rough-sleepers in accommodation without adequate support, including at Kendal Court.
“At the Full Council meeting the Conservatives will be calling on the Administration to take emergency action to ensure homeless people and rough-sleepers placed in accommodation by Brighton & Hove City Council have proper 24-hour support to ensure their safety and wellbeing.
“We will also be calling on the Audit & Standards Committee to commission a report to audit all Government funding received to tackle homelessness and rough-sleeping through the pandemic.” Councillor Mears said.