Time for housing associations to reveal their spending
Have you heard of Adactus, Hyde or Sanctuary Housing Associations? What about Viridian or Hereford Housing? No? Nor me.
Yet, I can see exactly how they are using tenant’s rent – who they are paying and for what. They publish their spending in the same way that many councils are now obliged to publish their spending each month, such as Wirral Council does here.
I’ve had a look on the websites on the two biggest housing associations in Moreton and Leasowe – Wirral Partnership Homes and Leasowe Community Homes – and while I can see annual reports showing total budget headings of what was spent on repairs, staffing, buildings and so on, I can’t see anything like the kind of detail that is published by the likes of Adactus or Viridian.
Yet, housing associations, like many councils and other public authorities, rely on millions of pounds of taxpayers money – either in grants from the Government or income in the form of housing benefit for their tenants.
I think we all, as taxpayers, have the right to know – not just the overall annual accounts but the day-to-day spending.
Now, unless I’m wrong and both housing associations (plus any others in Wirral), already publish it, now would be a good time.
Why? Because we all know that we need to get value for money with the way the economy is at the moment but also because many more tenants will soon be asked to pay their housing association.
Tenants of working age in ‘under occupied properties’ will (from April) see a reduction in their housing benefit, which they will have to make up, in some cases paying rent for the first time.
Many of the people affected by this have low incomes and would, I imagine, not be too impressed if their housing association is spending their new rent contribution on things that are not part of the essential role of providing social housing.
I have today emailed the chief executive of Wirral Partnership Homes and the managing director of Leasowe Community Homes to ask them to start publishing this information on their websites.