Housing associations must follow in the footsteps of central and local government and open their books to public scrutiny, Grant Shapps said today.
In a speech to the National Housing Federation annual conference in Birmingham, Mr Shapps warned that with public subsidy being reduced as government works to tackle the deficit, housing associations will need to become more efficient, doing more for less while meeting the needs of local residents.
The minister also argued that tenants would want to know if the chief executive of their housing association were paid more than the Prime Minister - and questioned whether this level of pay could be justified.
Grant Shapps said:
“Housing associations have proved themselves to be experts at steering massive private investment towards social homes - without them the housing shortage in this country would be even more acute. But over recent years large amounts of public money has been invested and I want to know we can get the most out of this past, present and future public investment.
“We’re now in a new era of public spending - there will no return to the old way of doing things, and no one can afford to rest on their laurels. So I’m calling on organisations that deliver and manage social housing to throw open their books and show the people they serve where the money is going.
“This isn’t a gesture; we need to squeeze the most out of every pound spent. Where there are opportunities for greater efficiency the public will see these - and they will demand they are taken.”
“They want to know how many people think that their job is tougher than being Prime Minister.
“And I want to know how it can be justified to pay enormous salaries which are ultimately being paid for either through the hard work and toil of taxpayers - or worse, from the rents of tenants who maybe the people in society least able to afford your salary.”