Thursday, 14 November 2013

SOCIAL HOUSING SHOULD RETURN TO CIVIC OWNERSHIP


Press statement


JUMPS IN RIVERSIDE
BILLS ECHO  ENERGY
RIP-OFFS,
SAY TENANTS

There are echoes  of the continuing row over rocketing energy bills and the excessive pay awards for bosses in the charges to tenants of Riverside Housing Association, it is claimed today.

The community group, Carlisle Tenants` and Residents`Federation says that Riverside bills in Carlisle this year have increased thirty per cent more than increases in similar houses which remain in council ownership.
.
The Federation also draws attention to the Riverside annual accounts which reveal that David Jepson,  Riverside`s 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", according to the accounts.

The influential housing magazine, Inside Housing, commenting on the accounts, says that only a month after Mr Jepson`s redundancy payment, he became interim chief executive at another big housing association, the 13,000 home Regenda Group. The salary was not disclosed.

A Federation spokesman said:”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  rose 30 per cent more over twelve months than rents in similar  social houses which remain in council ownership  in  Barrow, a town similar to Carlisle.”

The 30 per cent difference was revealed following an investigation by the 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.

The Federation spokesman added: “The critics of Riverside and other housing associations make exactly the same demands and see a return to civic ownership of  all social housing as the only solution.”

Liverpool-based Riverside owns 55,000 houses nationwide. In Carlisle, it owns 6,000.

Issued by Carlisle Tenants` and Residents` Federation.
November 14 2013