Housing Minister Grant Shapps has called on the country’s housing associations to follow the Government’s lead, throw open their books and expose how they spend money to public scrutiny.
Mr Shapps said it is not enough for the Government to put its house in order - everyone who receives public money must do the same.
With public subsidies being reduced, housing associations will need to change so they can do more for less, and continue to meet the needs of the communities they serve. The Minister said all organisations that manage and build social housing should open their books and publish their expenditure, so tenants can see how their money is being spent, and the wider public can see they are getting value for money.
The Department for Communities and Local Government was the first to publish details of all spending over £500 - and Mr Shapps encouraged housing associations to do the same as the start of a new ‘spirit of openness’.
The Minister added that social housing tenants will demand to know if the people who provide the homes they live in are earning more than the Prime Minister. Anyone who relies on taxpayers’ money to provide a public service will need to prove that they are providing the best possible service with the money available.
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.
Notes to editors
- Grant Shapps was speaking at the National Housing Federation annual conference in Birmingham. Details of the speech can be found at: www.communities.gov.uk/speeches/newsroom/nhfconference2010.
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