Labour have moved swiftly today to demonstrate that they will be ideological, they will prefer service deliverers over service users and that the Councilâ€™s costs will soar out of control. Only yesterday I made 10 predictions for Ealing under Labour â€“ number 5 has gone a long way to coming true already:
Council house tenants will do worst
Council house tenants will see rents rise sharply and they will see estate regeneration schemes pushed into the future as Labour prevaricate. Maintenance will get worse as Labour again favour the deliverers of service rather than the end users.
Purely in order to grandstand Labour has called an extraordinary council meeting to discuss one motion alone. It reads:
This Council resolves that with immediate effect its support for privatising the Management Contract of Ealing Homes is removed. The Council mandates officers to immediately draw up proposals to return Ealing Homes to direct management by the Council.
Apart from the mangled language this statement is nonsense. If you look back at the papers the Conservative administration aimed to wind up the failed Ealing Homes at the end of March 2011 and to tender out housing management contracts for three large areas to specialist housing organisations. Under the Tory scheme tenants and leaseholders would have been able to swap between providers creating a market which would have kept the suppliers honest.
The Labour solution is to bring the whole thing in house. This one move alone will increase council tax for all residents by 2% or lead to a massive increase in council house rents and service charges. Tenants and leaseholders will have to deal with town hall bureaucrats who have no incentive to give them a good, inexpensive service.
Labourâ€™s use of the language of privatisation featured in their mendacious election leaflets. The Tory plan was no such thing. Ownership of the housing stock would not have changed â€“ it never did under the Ealing Homes (ALMO) arrangement.
The funniest thing is that all the bidders for these contracts have been not-for-profits. There is no end to the amount of your cash that Labour will squander to keep themselves pure. Be afraid.
The full agenda is here.