Labour and the council are triumphantly tweeting the end of Ealing Homes at the end of this month.
The official Labour party statement that “This week Ealing Homes returns in house which will save the council millions” gives the game away. The council does benefit, but tenants do not.
After a rent freeze last year from the Tories they get a 4.7% rise from Labour this year. But it is OK people, the council will be fine!
Notably in the council’s press release comments about the savings that the council will accrue are confined to Cllr Withani’s quote:
Although Ealing Homes did a good job in delivering Decent Homes, this was a good time to take a fresh look at the service. We drew up plans to bring the service in house last year, but the final decision rested with tenants and I’m delighted they backed our proposals.
This will give us significant opportunities to end duplication and save money, instead of having two different housing divisions – one in the council and one external. These are challenging times for housing with government funding cuts, yet over the course of the next four years we expect to save more than £5million.
To repeat this is not a recurring annual saving, it is the total over the course of four years. If you look at the cabinet paper savings are wiped out next year by the cost of bringing the service in house. What is really pernicious is that rents were raised to cover the one off costs of ending Ealing Homes, some £1.53 million, but the council intends to pocket the recurring £1.98 million saving. Don’t you just love Labour? Heads we win, tails you lose.
What residents get is higher rents and a Hobson’s choice management service from Ealing council. The Tory alternative was competing providers who you could have kicked out if they did not do a good job.