LAST Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting saw Thurrock Conservatives housing spokesman, Rob Gledhill, call for Thurrock and other councils across the country, to come clean on Council rent collection.
During the regular performance review item it was revealed that last year approximately £1.2 million of rent was lost due to poor turn around times on re-letting empty council properties. Cllr Gledhill pointed out that this lost income was not reported in performance figures and asked if it was about time all councils came clean on reporting uncollected rent.
Cllr Gledhill said: “I find it unbelievable that a performance measure which ignores rental income lost due to properties sitting empty, or some housing benefit overpayments, was created. I find it equally as odd that despite this performance measure being scrapped some years ago is still being used by councils up and down the country”.
The idea of reporting the loss of income appeared to get approval from the Labour leadership, with an undertaking it would be looked at immediately. Cllr Gledhill added “It was good to see universal agreement to do this. With Councils having the freedom to set local agreed performance measures, now is the time to break the mould and be at the forefront of openness in performance reporting. I fully appreciate there will need to be some work to ensure every penny missed is now reported, but once done I would urge the Council to write to all other local authorities to ensure a similar benchmark is adopted.”