Barnet’s Conservative run council have reached record high levels in ‘incentive’ payments to private sector landlords who house some of the boroughs most vulnerable residents, many of whom may have been made homeless by the council itself.
According to answers received by Labour Councillor for West Hendon, Adam Langleben for tonight’s full council meeting, Barnet Homes has paid out £766,053 so far this financial year, with the amount to continue to rise.
Figures show that over the past four years the figure has jumped from just over £50,000 to over £750,000.
The amount paid in incentives over the past four years are:
2012/13 - £53,058.28
2013/14 - £566,538.12
2014/15 - £720,643.44
2015/16 - £766,053.00
This massive increase comes alongside a sharp decline in the number of council homes the council has in its own housing stock, with the issue likely to continue to worsen as the redevelopment of the large council estates in West Hendon, Stonegrove, Grahame Park and Dollis Valley result in a net loss of over 800 council homes for social rent.
The figures follow a Barnet Labour Group year-long study of Barnet’s housing crisis that has come up with policy changes to try and deliver a massive increase in the availability of affordable homes.
Adam Langleben, Labour Councillor for West Hendon said:
“The pace at which this figure keeps rising is quite astonishing – and this is before 800 non-secure households are made homeless by this Conservative council’s disastrous ‘regeneration’ plans. When the estates are gone you can see this figure rising to well over £2m a year – and that is a very conservative estimate.
“The cost of housing council tenants in the private rented sector is significantly higher than social housing provided by the council. These decisions in the long run have meant higher taxes for all residents as the benefit bill increases to meet the cost - since 2007/8 the housing benefit bill in Barnet has ballooned by 74 per cent to £263.8m.
“On the BBC Sunday Politics last week, the Conservative MP for Hendon claimed that Barnet Council were in the process of ‘socially improving’ its council estates. Any non-secure council tenant living on one of estates being developed would just call it being made homeless.
“One thing is clear: The Conservatives vision of ‘socially improving’ our borough will be a costly one, both financial and in terms of peoples lives.”
Notes to Editors:
1. The figures can be found in the Questions to the Leader for tonight's Council meeting. See Q57.
For more information on the Housing Commission and report findings see:
For more information contact Cllr Adam Langleben: firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568