Lambeth council wants to increase council tenants’ rents by 6.5%. This is far higher than the increases in other boroughs and equates to around £250 a year extra for the average property.
How does this council expect tenants to afford this, when food and energy prices are also rising? The increase is far more than the increases in pay, benefits and pensions that most Lambeth tenants will receive.
The people making these decisions are consultants each “earning” £800 per day! They will never have to worry about not being able to pay their rent! The council’s housing department squanders £4.6 million every year on these expensive consultants.
Getting rid of these consultants would pay for the rent increase by itself. On top of that, £2.7 million in rents is lost each year because of empty properties which Lambeth won’t repair or won’t move people into, and millions more paid to private landlords for temporary accommodation.
At the same time as increasing rents, the council is proposing to privatise even more of the services it provides to tenants; caretaking and emergency repairs are being considered, and they may outsource the Lambeth Service Centre to another country!
The only people who will benefit are the private companies who will get lucrative ten-year contracts – a licence to print money. One of the council’s contractors, Connaught, made profits of £18.4 million in 2007. Lambeth public services are being taken even further away from public control – just like the government is trying to do with schools and hospitals. It will mean less accountability, and make it much harder to pick up the pieces when things go wrong.
Public meeting — Rent rises and privatisation: What do you think about the proposals?
All Lambeth tenants/residents and staff welcome, 6.30-9pm, Thursday 13 March
Assembly Halls, Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton
Supported by Lambeth Unison and Lambeth Defend Council Housing