Sanctuary Housing Group

Part of Non-Invasive Precision Cancer Therapies – in the House of Commons at 5:00 pm on 18th July 2019.

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Photo of Mark Francois Mark Francois Conservative, Rayleigh and Wickford 5:00 pm, 18th July 2019

Yes. In comparison, the CEO of L&Q—London and Quadrant Housing Trust—earns about £350,000 in total, the CEO of the Peabody Trust is on about £279,000, and the CEO of Genesis Housing is on approximately £250,000.

Despite previously asking Sanctuary officials for a meeting, I have not yet been offered an audience with the new chief executive, which is a shame, because the first question I would like to ask him is: “How can you justify a salary over three times greater than that paid to the Prime Minister?” I cannot countenance how someone running, essentially, a public sector organisation could be paid such a vast amount for presiding over such chaos.

To give the Minister some idea of the history of all this, I first came across the group some years ago when Rochford District Council decided to transfer its social housing stock to a new registered social landlord established for the purpose, called Rochford Housing Association. The tenants voted in a ballot to transfer to the housing association, which was then shortly taken over by a regional housing association called Hereward, and then in turn by a national organisation, Sanctuary. So I have been dealing with RHA/Hereward/Sanctuary for over a decade as the local MP.

Crucially, the original manifesto for the transfer ballot contained a commitment to build up to 50 additional units of affordable housing a year to assist the council with addressing its housing waiting list. Specifically, the manifesto—I have a copy here, because I saved one—said the following under the heading, “New affordable housing to meet local housing needs”:

“Tenants and the Council have said they want to see new homes in the area for future generations and the Council is committed to working with Housing Associations to provide affordable housing to meet local needs.

Rochford Housing Association working with Hereward Housing will aim to provide at least 50 new affordable homes each year in the Rochford District.”

That was the promise to the tenants before they voted to transfer. Sanctuary took over that commitment when it absorbed Hereward, and promised to honour it when that entity became part of its group, but it has come absolutely nowhere near doing so.

I have had multiple meetings with Sanctuary down the years to try to persuade it to honour that promise, not least to alleviate the considerable pressure on Rochford’s housing list, which has sometimes, unfortunately, meant that the council has had to place families, including those with young children, in highly unsuitable bed-and-breakfast accommodation in nearby Southend.