Friday, January 16, 2009

Box tickers rule?

The Daily Mail has a bit if a reputation for the.. 'sensational'.

However, I believe that most are able to separate the wheat from the chaff and, at the end of the day, a fact is a fact.

Woman, 91, dies 'after becoming stressed over £16,000 council bill to make her home eco-friendly'

No one seems to be disputing what happened. Indeed why seems pretty clear.

How is another matter.

Presuming the reporting to be accurate, this story, and quote, suggests that we are in an era embodied by such as the notorious Baby P cases' Sharon Shoesmith, who has a fellow mindset that is hard to swallow:

Councillor Zita Wiltshire, the local housing chief, said leaseholders were consulted on charges in 2006 and made aware of how much they would have to pay.

Cllr Wiltshire said: 'We are sympathetic to the concerns of our leaseholders but the council does spell out the detail of the financial obligations imposed upon a lessee in the terms of each right-to-buy lease.'

I presume her index-linked will easily cover all such demands on her once in retirement.

This is not the way to save the planet, or indeed sell the wisdom of all necessary measures to help do so.

1 comment:

Dave said...

They were on about this on Radio 5 yesterday and they had councillor Zita on interview. Although vaguely sympathetic about this specific case, she was hard, cold and apparently unsympathetic to the plight of any tenants who lease purchased their previously council owned properties under the 'right to buy' rules. (As one of the commentors suggested, they seem to have become something of a cash-cow to many councils.)
Under the rules of the lease purchase agreement it states that the council has the right to provide any necessary modification, maintenance or renovation work and to charge the tenants accordingly. (i.e. Read as 'whatever it costs, you will pay'!) But what I find absolutely staggering is a £16,000 bill for the 'repair' to some external insulating cladding!
Someone, somewhere, is trousering a huge amount of cash for such low scale work. Furthermore, what's the betting that the work was not even put out to tender, but a council 'approved' installer was given the contract for the work without questions asked?
And even more irritating, if she had simply remained as a council tenant, rather than opting to lease purchase, should would have paid .... yes, you've guessed it .... absolutely nothing!
I agree that the question is around really 'how' this happened, but perhaps should be couched more as 'how on earth could this happen'?