Thurrock Council leader John Kent lashes out at “desperate” Jackie Doyle Price

THURROCK Council leader John Kent has described the Thurrock MP, Jackie Doyle-Price as “desperate” after she criticised council plans for private housing health checks.

The MP spoke out after the Borough Council launched a scheme for private tenants to benefit from a ‘housing health check’, suggesting the authority should improve its own homes as well.

She said: “In particular we have a number of properties which are badly infected with mould. Some of it is due to poor installation of double glazing units which have caused a long term problem for the property. Some of it is due to poor contract management and a failure to ensure that works booked by contractors have been properly executed.

“The fact is that regardless of who your landlord is, if you are concerned about living conditions in your home, you should contact the Council’s environmental health team.

“When Thurrock Council can be confident it is doing the right thing by its own tenants, then it can lay down the law to everyone else. Not before.”

Thurrock Council leader Cllr John Kent has responded to the criticism.

He said: “I am afraid we’re going to have to get used to this as the General Election gets closer and the desperate MP lashes out.

“Thurrock Council has made no secret of the fact that there has been a real lack of investment in its housing stock, starting with the six years of Tory control from 2004. It has taken time and hard work to begin to put that under investment right. Perhaps the MP should remember that.

“When we took control in 2010 it became obvious there were major issues in housing. We had to do away with the dreadful Morrison contract, negotiated by the Tories, we had to find a director of housing who was able and willing to lead the Thurrock housing team out of the doldrums and turn it into an exciting forward looking department.

We did that.

“Over the past year Thurrock has launched an £80 million investment programme that will see each and every one of its 10,500 council homes refurbished to the highest standard; and I believe we are one of very few, if not the only council to specifically invest millions of pounds to combat the scourge that is damp and mould.

“In the last year we have seen more than 1,700 homes transformed as part of the Housing Transformation Programme, prevented more than 740 households becoming homeless; and lowered the overall annual average re-letting time for council properties by around two thirds.

We have also helped 107 tenants to downsize to more suitable and affordable homes.

I don’t think any other council could boast such a successful year – perhaps Jackie Doyle Price should check.

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