Wednesday, 6 November 2013

BERLIN HAS THE ANSWER TO ENERGY PRICE RIP-OFFS

BRING BACK 
CIVIC
OWNERSHIP 
IN BRITAIN TOO

There are a lot of miles between here and Berlin but not much distance between something they have in common-  the broken energy markets of the six big energy companies here in Britain and  similar failures by energy companies in Berlin.

The German companies which have failed may  now be re-nationalised.

A referendum  on re-nationalisation has just been held in Berlin following a  similar decision by the second German  city, Hamburg, which has now returned its city grid to civic ownership.

Here in Carlisle there have been similar thoughts of a return to civic ownership, but this time of the city`s 6,500 former council houses, now owned by the largely unaccountable Riverside Housing Association of Liverpool which has 55,000 homes nationwide.


Riverside has just revealed that David Jepson (left) its deputy chief  executive had a total income last year of £393,000 which is 120 per cent more than the Riverside chief executive, Carol Matthews.The total income of Ms Matthews is  several thousand pounds more than the Prime Minister.


Mr Jepson`s last year`s income is part of a redundancy package which included a payment in lieu of  notice " for business reasons", reports the  business magazine, Inside Housing.

The magazine says that only a month after his redundancy, Mr Jepson became interim chief executive at another big housing association, the 13,000 home Regenda Group. The salary was not disclosed.


Such massive pay offs are not new to Riverside. Nor are massive jumps in the rents of Riverside tenants. In Cumbria this year, Riverside bills for rents in Carlisle rose 30 per cent more over twelve months than rents in  social houses  in the similar town of Barrow which remain in council ownership.

The 30 per cent difference was revealed following an investigation by Carlisle Tenants` and Residents` Federation.

Fairer bills for  all householders is what the critics  now demand from the big  six energy companies, together with an end to fat cat pay-offs for the bosses, better competition between companies and better regulation by the Government.

In Berlin and Hamburg there were similar demands of the companies until it was decided that a return to civic ownership was the only solution to the broken market there.


The critics of Riverside and other housing associations make the same demands and see a return to civic ownership as the only solution to fat cat pay-offs, rising household bills, lack of competitiveness and poor regulation by the government.


Community Voice Carlisle is the blog of Carlisle Tenants` and Residents` Federation. Information about the Federation is available on the first post of the blog, dated March 25.