Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Morrisons housing controversy: Leader talks tough

THE MORRISONS HOUSING repairs contract has continued to court controversy since it began last year.

Morrison PLC were awarded the £22 million contract in March 2010 by the ruling Conservative group. Labour fought bitterly to have the contract “called in” as they were unhappy with a number of aspects in the contract especially the nature of the single contract.

At the time, Morrison promised that they would bring “Improved service and more repairs ‘right first time’
– Improved efficiency
– Improvements to the Thurrock Trade School
– Support for local businesses
– Creating job and apprenticeship opportunities

However since then, many councillors have found their in-tray full of complaints from council tenants underwhelmed, harassed and upset at the service they have been provided with.

In December, there were 23 complaints alone.

One resident got in contact with YourThurrock. Their tale of woe wouldn’t be out of place in a Monty Python sketch, except this isn’t funny. At one stage, the resident has over ten people in the flat. A few are actual workmen. The rest are representatives from a host of organisations trying to sort out the mess. All the man wanted was a few extra sockets and a bigger space for his washing machine.

It leads people to ask: if there were 23 complaints made. How many people suffered in silence?

The then-leader of Thurrock Council, Garry Hague robustly defended the decision to award the contract to Morrisons.

He said: “Morrisons were appointed following a rigorous selelction process and the contract was set up to bring a range of benefits to tenants and the council.

“I am looking into the issues raised.”

YourThurrock spoke to council leader John Kent about how he is responding to the avalanche of criticisms.

In this interview, council leader John Kent does not pull any punches.

He has a meeting with the chief exec of Morrisons this week and has told YT that he may take “Pretty dramatic steps to ensuring that council tenants get the repair service that they deserve”.


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