Blogpost: Mr Perrin questions cash-strapped Thurrock Council’s private housing spend

Mr Perrin’s blog: “A Word in Your Ear”

THE article posted on “Your Thurrock” titled “Home is where the health is” causes me to question the wisdom and prudence of those in the Council who judged it appropriate to introduce such a project at this time bearing in mind the oft repeated protestation by the leader of the Council, Cllr John Kent, regarding the shortage of money resulting from the savage cuts imposed upon the Council by the Government and as a consequence the Council is compelled to make equally savage cuts to services provided.

On the 22nd May I had a conversation with Mr Graham Farrant, Joint Chief Executive of Thurrock Borough Council and Barking and Dagenham Council, when he told me, if people believed they were suffering as a result of the cuts to Council services made so far, then they were in for an even bigger shock when the Council announces further cuts to social services, schools, libraries {there will only be one library in Thurrock], housing repairs and maintenance to name just a few. If Mr Farrant’s dire warning is correct then surely it is not unreasonable for the council taxpayer to consider it foolhardy at best or downright reckless to embark upon a project at the taxpayers’ expense, but of course when you are spending somebody else’s money you can afford to be reckless. jmw118” hit the nail on the head when he commented “What a strange idea. The Council don’t look after even their own housing stock!”

As a result of a campaign by Mrs Deirdre Lodge to make people aware of the serious threat to health the presence of damp and mould in their homes is, the Council has been shamed into taking the issue seriously and is currently committed to a 5 year plan to eradicate damp and mould from council rented housing. Whilst I applaud the Council for it’s commitment, I suggest that if some extra money has become available and it is intended to spend it on private sector properties, it would be more prudent to add that money to the damp and mould issue possibly shortening the 5 year plan to a 3 or 4 year plan thus reducing the time people would have to continue to live with damp and mould.

If there are risks to the health and wellbeing of people living in owner-occupied houses or privately rented properties, surely it is the responsibility of the owner-occupier or landlord to remedy them. In the case of Landlords, I consider it would be inappropriate for the Council to spend money on improving privately rented properties, especially if it was at the expense of improving council rented properties. Most private landlords charge high rents and in some cases are already subsidised by the Council.

Is it not sensible to adequately finance a project to ensure that it is completed to a high standard and as speedily as possible before embarking upon another project?

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