Tower Hamlets Labour Group has accused the council of rushing ahead with its renovation of social housing under the national Decent Homes scheme, without keeping in mind quality standards.
Labour claims that Lutfur Rahman, the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, is seeking to make a political gain by maximising the number of homes being renovated, rather than doing a quality job of each house.
The Decent Homes Standard was introduced on a national level in 2000 and is aimed at bringing all social housing up to minimum levels of quality. Labour alleges that little is being done to improve energy efficiency in home, which will produce cheaper energy bills for residents. Instead it says the council is focusing on improvements to kitchens.
Councillor Sirajul Islam, Labour’s spokesperson on housing, said: “When Labour introduced the Decent Homes scheme it was all about improving the quality of housing stock and boosting residents’ living standards. The Mayor on the other hand has sacrificed the quality of work in a cynical political drive for numbers”.
“Councillors across the borough have had complaints from residents that recent Decent Homes work has been substandard and is being done on the cheap,” he said.
Joshua Peck, leader of the Labour Group, added: “We are very concerned about how badly the work is being done and how it is being reduced in scope. The Mayor is obsessed by numbers, so homes are not getting the work they need”.
Labour’s accusations were denied by Councillor Rabina Khan, Lead member for Housing for Tower Hamlets Council, who said that the council was also putting its own money into the scheme to top up the allocation given by the government. “The Decent Homes Standard is set by central government and all the work that has been carried out meets this national standard,” she said.
“The Mayor and I are delighted to be able to invest this money into our social housing and we know how pleased residents have been with the work.”