Lewisham gets Decent Homes allocation to start vital works

From Lewisham Council:

Lewisham has received an allocation of £94.5m to fund Decent Homes works in the borough - including £25.5m over the next two years - following an announcement by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) about its grant funding allocation.

The funding falls short of the Council's bid of £126m. The allocation of £25.5m over the next two years will enable Lewisham Homes, the ALMO set up to manage Lewisham Council's social housing stock, to make a start on delivering vital decent homes works for thousands of residents in council owned homes in the borough. But the shortfall will leave many tenants uncertain about how and when their homes will be brought up to standard.

Cllr Susan Wise, Cabinet Member for Customer Services, said: "I am pleased that Lewisham has received this funding and that we can now begin the Decent Homes programme for Lewisham Homes' residents. However, we will continue to press the Government to deliver on the money promised in future years and we will also seek to secure additional funding to ensure that this programme will be completed."

Julia Cotton, Chair of Lewisham Homes, said: "This is good news as it means we are able to get our Decent Homes programme started. Over the last year we have been consulting with our residents on these works, now this funding has been confirmed these plans can begin to become a reality."


Cllr Mike Harris said...

We only got 75% of the money promised by the last Labour government (another cut on top of 20% to children's and young people grants, 29% off our total budget, 75% from social housing). But I think the consensus amongst Council officers is this is better than expected. Some Councils have been utterly screwed over their decent homes funding.

It does leave a £30m short-fall which will be incredibly hard to bridge.

Steve said...

This is just the opposite of what happened with the Brockley PFI where the Regenter B3 consortium was awarded 3 times as much as the original bid. Hopefully Lewisham has drawn up a proper contract with Lewisham Homes, unlike the botched job with Regenter which we're going to be stuck with until 2027...

Tamsin said...

Probably being woefully naive here but are there any savings to be made in the building of new homes programme where LBL did (if I read the documentation right) voluntarily undertake much more than was actually required of it?
Given this 25% shortfall in monies requested, if LBL funds are involved in the excessive building programme as well as private investment could they not be diverted to the necessary improvement to existing stock?

max said...

Cllr Mike Harris, your prosepective is possibly upside down.
You can just as well say that the Council received 75% of the money the last Labour government took away.

By the way, maybe you can explain why is it that requested to make £21.8m of budget cuts the Mayor decided to make £33m of budget cuts instead.

Mb said...

@max think danja attempted to answer that on the carnival thread

Furious Gerald said...

Max have you included direct grants that have been cut for things like Future Jobs, free swimming, teenage pregnancy etc. I'd guess that the smaller figure is what the gov have cut from general fund and the larger figure is that plus all the direct grants that have been cut.

Either way, it's nothing to do with decent homes!

max said...

Thanks MB, I had completely missed that comment, found it now.

Well, it's an explanantion and it's quite good but I'm not convinced by the example of budget pressures given.

The £675k for streetlight replacement scheme for example, as far as I know streetlight are all PFI so there shouldn't be additional expenses.
And indeed, what's the "£2m for Single Status assessment of officer grades"?
And whatever that is should libraries close to pay for it?
And where's the extra £1m from the doubling of CPZ resident's permits?

Furious Gerard, indeed, but as for the example given above with CPZ permits picking the tab for some budget pressures there may be other items that pick the tab for others, they're not listed there though.
And I think it's got something to do with decent homes, and Cllr Harris seems to agree.

max said...

And thanks to Danja of course.

Cllr Mike Harris said...


Decent Homes isn't an additional pressure on our budget as its "capital" expenditure, not "resource" expenditure. There's a very complex explanation but I won't go into it here!

The £675k for streetlight replacement scheme are the resource, not capital, costs of the PFI - so it is an additional expense once the contract has been signed (that is, from now).

Single status means an end to discriminatory employment rules that meant jobs men traditionally did were graded at higher pay grades than similar jobs for women. To correct this imbalance it will cost £2 million. It's a statutory obligation.

And partly the cuts are bigger as we are making cuts for year's ahead. So the cuts package going to the Council on 1 March (phase 2) will include next year's budget, and some of the cuts required for the year after.

Hope this makes sense,


max said...

Thanks Mike,

I see, you're front-loading the front-loaded so to speak.

Anyway, regarding street lighting, it may well be the first time this expenditure is called PFI in the books but in previous years there was the same amount for the same purpose only through directly commissioned works (unless the expenditure was less but then it would be a bad deal).

No need to explain the difference between revenue and capital, I'm an artist but against my parents' wishes that wanted me to study art I studied accountancy back then.

Really Lewisham Council was paying women less than men, shocking!



Anonymous said...

For years we woz told by the previous money the 'money was there' for the Decent Homes scheme, it was supposed to have been handed over in 2004.

When the last government left office they left a note...'There's no money left.'

1) Why didn't the previous government hand over the money?

2) If Lewisham Homes had not after 8 years qualified for the dosh, are the previous government saying the homes would have been left not decent to live in?

Anonymous said...

@ Cllr Harris

In 2007 the Mayor of Lewisham presumably backed by fellow councillors cut Lewisham Homes budget...

On 17 December 2007 Julia Cotton wrote to the Mayor very concerned at the reduction in the revenue budget for repairs and maintenance for the second year running, at a time when additional investment was required to bring the service up to a two-star standard.

To quote from the letter…

“We already know that past resources have been less that the repairs & maintenance allowances that government bases its subsidy on, there are high levels of customer complaints and visual evidence of a poor maintenance and external decorations.”

And the implication due to the MAYOR OF LEWISHAM'S CUTS IN 2007....

“In the process of business planning post 2008/11 Lewisham Homes has identified that over a period of time it will need to focus on a reduction in staff numbers.”

So Cllr Harris stop your politic penis waving and take a grip of a reality.

The previous government announced over a year ago it was going withold Decent Homes money till 2011. After the election and AFTER it had a spending review.

The previous government therefore broke its promise the money would be handed over as soon as Lewisham Homes qualified.

If the governement of the day with access to the books couldn't say where spending would be cut, then there's no guarantee they would have kept their promise of full funding. In fact they refused to hand over any money.

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon that's a very good and well-informed post, but it would be good if people could identify themselves (with a pseudonym if necessary, but ideally with a real name or an indication of your interest in this matter - eg: are you a campaigner for better housing?) when they post in this kind of detail. Thanks.

Cllr Mike Harris said...

The previous government withheld the money until the ALMO reached an acceptable level of service: 2*. There's no conspiracy. The ALMO (Lewisham Homes) has now reached that level.

I agree Nick, especially if people are going to post ad hominem attacks it would be nice if they'd have the decency to be accountable.

Lou Baker said...

According to the Lewisham website there are 29,000 council homes in Lewisham.

This £25.5m means there's an average of around £900 per property.

Those of us who don't live in council homes would love £900 in 'free cash' to do up our properties.

£25.5m sounds more than adequate to me. If those who live in taxpayer subsidised housing don't like it, they can always leave or pay for improvements themselves.

Anonymous said...

Cllr Harris is W R O N G...

June 9, 2009

John Healey LABOUR made history today as the first Rotherham MP to sit at the cabinet table.

Mr (Gordon) Brown (LABOUR PM) said he wanted to “push forward with the economic recovery” including taking “more action on housing.”

In July 2010 the London Councils wrote....

But when, in July last year (2009), the former Minister for Housing John Healey announced government plans to delay money earmarked for vital improvements in line with the Decent Homes Standard.

The announcement and subsequent delay for funding affected those local authorities in round six of the Decent Homes programme.

Since the announcement, London Councils has been working closely with ....Lewisham....to ensure that... the effects of the delay were heard by the taskforce and central government.

From the Lewisham Homes Aug-Oct 2009 newsletter (Issue 9 Page 9)

The Government has advised all Round Six Arms Length Management Organisations, including Lewisham Homes ... that they would not be able to access Decent Homes funding until 2011/12.

Cllr Harris you get paid more as a councillor than I get in pension.

You belong to a party that for 10 years condemed residents of Lewisham to live in properties that were known not to be decent to live in.

Then when they qualified for the money to make their homes decent to live in the party you belong to refused to hand over the money.

And we now pay councillors!!

Cllr Harris, I told you earlier put it away and get a grip on reality.

Davina McCaw

South London Press, NewsShopper, Evening Standard, Metro and BBC London, trust you reading this.

How ironic if a Mayor who cut spending on housing in 2006 BEFORE the financial crisis berates a government for cutting spending on housing at a time they were told by the previous government 'there's no money left.'

Lou Baker said...

You are not condemned to live in substandard housing.

If you don't like your lot, you are free to move out of taxpayer subsidised housing and pay market rate, like everyone else.

If you're not prepared to do that - and it sounds like you're not - don't whine.

Anonymous said...


This has nought to do with in what or where I live....it has to do with a government that said for years 'we have the money' all you have to is qualify and you automatically get the wonga.

Lewisham Homes qualified but were told by the previous government the money would be witheld for at least a year, maybe longer...'and by the way, we are holding an election and if returned plan major cuts to budgets which we can't announce because we need to have a spending review first.'

Note how Cllr Harris avoided any reference to cuts made in housing by the Mayor in 2006 and 2007 which may well have delayed the improvements at Lewisham Homes required for the Decent Homes scheme to be funded.

No doubt the Council have their press releases ready and photo opportunities lined up telling how wonderful they are having knowingly deprived council tenants of a home decent to live in for 10-12 years.

Anonymous said...

No point being made with the following apart from the humour...

Inside Housing September 2009...

Liberal Democrat policy is now to reverse the government’s decision to use decent homes money for new housing, after an emergency motion was carried at its conference.

The motion called on the government to make a commitment that ALMOs who reach the Audit Commission’s two-star rating will get the funding they were promised.

The one and only comment...

Mark | 24/09/2009 4:29 pm

Of course this matters nothing as the Libs will never be in a position to implement anything.

The funniest thing I read recently was Nick Clegg claiming he had a realistic chance of being PM - not in this universe and/or your lifetime, Nick.

Anonymous said...

According to Joan Ruddick in a debate about the Decent Homes Scheme on 27 Jan 2011 at Westminster Hall the previous government promised lewisham £153m, so why did the council only bid for £126m?


Here you have to larf....it took Lewisham 8 years to get 2 star status and the current government apparently scrapped that requirement.

Anonymous said...

@Cllr Harris

I had to look up 'ad hominem' still don't understand what it means but found this on web....

One of the most widely misused terms on the Net is "ad hominem".

It is most often introduced into a discussion by certain delicate types, delicate of personality and mind, whenever their opponents resort to a bit of sarcasm.

As soon as the suspicion of an insult appears, they summon the angels of ad hominem to smite down their foes, before ascending to argument heaven in a blaze of sanctimonious glory.

They may not have much up top, but by God, they don't need it when they've got ad hominem on their side.


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