Thursday, 28 November 2013


Ed Miliband....housing associations next?
Ed Miliband should now take a look at the latest bloated figures for housing associations following his latest attack on the energy companies...“exorbitant  prices for exorbitant profits”, was his description  at yesterday`s Commons Question Time.
Profits of the Big Six  energy companies have  leapt more than sixfold a household to £53 a household from £8 a household  four years ago. The average household bill rose  £168 last year with £23 of  that rise going to greater profits, according to the regulator Ofgem
The story is much the same in the housing association sector where last year  there were soaring surpluses (profits) for Britain`s biggest  associations.
 Surpluses at the 30  biggest associations  soared to almost £1 billion according to research by the influential housing industry publication, Inside Housing.
The total surpluses for the 30 biggest in the last financial year stood at £947.1 million, a 60 per cent increase  on the previous year`s total of £592. 5 million.
An association   with one of the biggest increases- fifty percent- is the Liverpool based Riverside which owns all of Carlisle`s 6,500 former council houses. Its surplus now stands at £32.8 million.
The surplus comes as no surprise to Carlisle Tenants` and Residents` Federation which has long argued that Riverside is generating profits (not surpluses)-saving money for itself to sustain its business at the expense  of some of the poorest people.
Mr Miliband`s description of energy companies`” exorbitant prices for exorbitant profits”  can equally be applied to housing associations.
Now Mr Miliband should be asking why these associations, claiming to be  not-for-profit organisations, should be creating these excessive surpluses.
Why are rents increasing-including those in Carlisle- above the rate of inflation when there is so much profit?
 And why should these associations expect government subsidies when internal  reserves are so high?
A Federation spokesman said:”These profits are disgraceful. If these housing associations were spending money on new social housing there would be no surpluses.
”Alternatively, give tenants a rebate to help with soaring energy bills and living costs.”

Community Voice Carlisle is the blog of Carlisle Tenants and Residents` Federation. Information about the Federation is available on the first post of this blog, dated March 25 2013.

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