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Government u-turn over £112m for social housing a betrayal say council leaders - 22.07.09

A Government decision to cancel £112m of funding to improve social housing in Sutton has been dubbed a betrayal by the council and residents.

The money was earmarked to bring homes in Sutton up to decent standards but has been redirected by the Prime Minister.

The £112 million decent homes programme would pay for the replacement of antiquated box bathrooms on the St Helier estate, increased energy efficiency with the installation of new double glazed windows, and insulation and upgrading tower blocks such as Chaucer House.

As recently as April Housing Minister Margaret Beckett pledged that Sutton would get the money if Sutton Housing Partnership (SHP) passed an inspection in the autumn.

Council and SHP staff have been working tirelessly ahead of the Audit Commission inspection but their efforts are now in vain.

Council Leader, Sean Brennan, said "This news is a kick in the teeth for tenants and housing staff.  Everyone has worked so hard to secure this essential funding.  We will do everything we can to challenge the Government for reneging on its promise."

Council Executive Member for Housing, Colin Stears, said "This decision is a devastating blow to the council tenants of Sutton. It goes to show that this government cannot be trusted to keep its word even when supporting some of the most vulnerable sections of our community."

Chief Executive of Sutton Housing Partnership, Andrew Taylor commented, "It is difficult to be anything other than devastated by this announcement, especially given both the hard work and planning that everyone at SHP has been involved in. It goes completely against commitments made generally and specifically to us, and we have already written back to the HCA and further representations will follow.

"The announcement is likely to have a damaging impact on relationships with our residents, many of them elderly and vulnerable, who will see this as a further sign of the total disregard for their poor living conditions. Though for staff the announcement comes at a critical time, we will not allow it to divert us from improving services for our residents and getting the two stars in our October inspection."

Last updated: Wednesday, 22 July 2009

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