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Lambeth London Living calls for a re-think on budget proposals and a fair deal for Lambeth tenants

Lambeth London Living’s Board is urging Lambeth Council to set a secure budget that helps provide improved services to tenants and unlocks millions of pounds of decent homes funding.

The board is asking the council to invest in – not reduce – the funding provided to Lambeth London Living, to produce a budget that delivers more sustainable services and helps Lambeth London Living reach the two star rating necessary to access £233million.

Chair of Lambeth London Living, Keith Hill, MP, said: “I am concerned by the potential impact on Lambeth tenants and Lambeth London Living services of reductions in funding. Our services need to improve and they need investment to do so or services will retreat. The proposed budget needs a greater strategic focus on reaching two stars by 2011.”

Draft proposals contained in the Housing Revenue Account Budget and Rent Setting Report 2010/2011 reduce Lambeth London Living’s management fee by £2.3million. This is a 9 per cent reduction in one year and a 25 per cent reduction since residents voted to create an arms length management organisation (ALMO) three years ago.

As a relatively new organisation, Lambeth London Living was set up with a very lean back office. To put the funding reductions into context, this means a potential loss of between 50 to 70 Lambeth London Living staff, largely frontline, and closure of at least two area offices. The number of Lambeth London Living posts could then reduce from 500 to 370 in three years.

Lambeth London Living has been delivering more with less but the continued level of reductions has significant implications for both the sustainability of services and their future improvement.

Lambeth London Living requires investment which it argues should be viewed on an invest-to-save basis to unlock the decent homes funding.

Along with rejecting the proposed cut in the management fee, Lambeth London Living is asking the council to restore funding of £1.9million for the next financial year to maintain services and deliver the required improvements.

Keith Hill added “We want fair rents and charges. We recognise that higher rents are difficult and challenging for tenants and we don’t want that. We are calling for different expenditure not more and a fair rent rise that provides tenants with sustainable, value for money services - a fair settlement, a fair rent and a fair budget. Our priority is to maintain service delivery and improve the lives of some of Lambeth’s most disadvantaged residents. The budgets for Lambeth London Living are vital to secure the major investment funds that we know have been set aside for the borough if we progress towards two stars.”

The Housing Revenue Account Budget and Rent Setting 2010/2011 proposals are currently undergoing consultation, which ends on 25 January. The council’s Cabinet is due to make a decision on budget, rents, service charges and measures to balance the Housing Revenue Account on 8 February.

Before the consultation ends the board will be urgently writing to councillors and council officers to express their concern over the draft proposals.

Are you concerned about the proposals? Share your views on the proposals by e-mailing feedback@lambethliving.org.uk