While Salford City Council started to publish a breakdown of their expenditure (more on this later), as per the coalition’s new initiative on transparent government, a council house rent rise three times the rate of inflation went largely un-noticed.
Salix Homes tenants will be faced with rent rises of around £4 per week, which may not sound much – but if you are a minimum wage worker or struggling to survive on benefits, it’s a significant rise.
The rent rise is doubly annoying when you look at how Salford Council spends your money – they bleat about government cuts, but the shear amount of wastage on ice rinks, proms in the park, sponsoring the BBC Philharmonic, management and consultancy fees has ended up costing the poorest people in our city a collosal amount in rent rises.
Perhaps then, it would be no surprise to learn that Salford Council spends more on management fees to Salix Homes (£12.3m) than it does on repairs of council homes managed by Salix (£11.6m). This, perhaps, explains why Salford Council predicts that by next year 60% of it’s council homes will not meet the Decent Homes Standard. According to the Government, ‘A decent home is one which is wind and weather tight, warm and has modern facilities.’ That’s around 5,500 homes that will not meet these basic of standards.
Our Labour-led Salford Council has it’s priorities wrong and nothing I have seen in 2011 is leading me to believe they are likely to change their ways. Times are tough and the council should not be wasting our money on frivolous projects (such as spending £750,000 moving 2 blue cranes up the road) and all the others I mentioned above.
It’s time for a change on Salford City Council.