THE LEADER OF the Thurrock Conservatives has been told by the council leader to put his own house in order before he criticises the Morrison housing contract.
Council leader John Kent said: “Councillor Anderson makes several allegations: the first is that Tory councillors have to deal with housing issues – does he not realise that all councillors, myself included, do this? We are well aware of the issues. Our tenants pay for this service and too often they are not getting anything like the service they deserve. That is not good enough and we are determined to put it right.
“Cllr Anderson accuses us of a cynical attempt to shift the blame. It is nothing of the sort – it is a statement of the facts. This awful contract was conceived of and let by the last Conservative administration, who even refused our request to call it in for closer examination.
“He is right to say that councillors don’t get involved in the detail of contract negotiations, but they should be involved in reading the contract before it is let – after all portfolio holders should be held responsible for decisions made when they have control.
Currently, and for some time past, senior councillors, council officers and housing officers have been working with Morrison executives to try and untangle the twisted web that was agreed with the Conservatives.
We have uncovered a series of problems with the way this contract operates and are starting to put them right. They are, however, problems that should have been identified when the contract was being negotiated.
“Despite Cllr Anderson’s attempts to re write history the truth is clear. We did not want it. We were refused the right to have a closer look at it. We warned there would be major problems. Now, we are trying to sort out the mess.
Councillor Anderson was unavailable at the time of publication.