John Baron MP is pressing the Rt. Hon. John Denham MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, over the Government’s decision to pay for new social homes by raiding ALMO’s Decent Homes budgets. This will mean St. Georges Community Housing has now been denied £142m for its Decent Homes Programme, despite having spent £1m in preparing its bid.
This decision is a real kick in the teeth to the many Council tenants across the District whose housing is in desperate need of renovation. This is a body blow to them and St Georges which spent £1m in bidding for funding which has now been withdrawn.
The Government’s commitment to ALMOs has been questionable. In addition to the stop-start nature of the funding over the years, Parliament learnt earlier this year that during 2006-2008 £29m had been transferred out of the Decent Homes ALMO Programme into the Olympics budget.
Meanwhile, I’m sceptical that the diversion of this money to social housing will achieve the Government’s new build targets given the logjams that are slowing down the construction of new homes for rent. It is a sad fact that the number of social houses built in each of the 18 years of the last Tory Government exceeds that built in any year since 1997.