Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

[Mr Peter Bone in the Chair] — Decent Homes

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:10 pm on 27th January 2011.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Kate Hoey Kate Hoey Labour, Vauxhall 4:10 pm, 27th January 2011

I agree. There have been so many mergers that I give up on the names and what they call themselves now. They have definitely moved away from being small and really local-they try to close their local housing offices as soon as possible once they have taken over.

On my hon. Friend's point about leaseholder charges, some people have been being ripped off for years by housing associations. In the case of Hyde Housing, it was only because a group of residents got together and spent hours and hours looking at the issue in detail in order to prove their case that it accepted that case, apologised and will pay the money back. In my area, the most success, in terms of the management and the residents' enjoyment of it, has come from successful, small TMOs. They have really worked. They have been given the power and more control. One of them, Holland Rise and Whitebeam Close, has taken over the concierge system and is running it brilliantly. The staff like being there now-they feel that they are involved in the estate and know the residents. In the past, Lambeth council ran the concierge system for all the blocks, and the TMO had to put up with its management and style.

I will probably get into trouble with my councillors for what I have said, but some good things are happening in Lambeth. The issue is about investment and money, but it is also about more than that. I support the Government's proposed changes in relation to rents and councils being able to control that money. However, we must make sure that there is a mechanism that ensures that that money is spent properly. Local is best, but local councils do not always do the right thing with the money.