Bamboo- zled – The Future of Social Housing?

We received a cryptic reply to our House of Bamboo post from someone called ‘Frank’ ( ha! ha! ) who asked :

Are you bored? 

And to which we replied :

More weltschmerz than ennui.

Why do you ask?

We used the word weltschmerz because it is a feeling that emerges from the realisation that things could be and should be better. This feeling is particularly aroused when it comes to  housing ,and specifically social housing on Wirral . For the moment we’ll  resist commenting on Wirral Waters and the Hoylake Golf Resort when it comes to Wirral Council’s approach to affordable housing and return to the worrying story of Bamboo Lettings.

Fortunately we’re not the only ones who regard the annexing of social housing for profit and personal gain to be deeply concerning. What makes it worse for us is that it involves some Wirral Leaks old timers who would no doubt justify their actions when it comes to social responsibility and just like Wirral Council blame ” Tory cuts”. Once again ,if only it were as simple as that…………….

Firstly our thanks go to Chelsea Guy who reveals on her Facebook page :

Bamboo Chelsea

Magenta Living’s attempt to “explain” Bamboo in their Spring 2018 magazine.

“In order to help fund existing services and build new affordable housing we looked at other ways to bring income in to meet the shortfall” – so essentially, denying people suitable housing when they’re in need of it, in order to build new “affordable” housing, to then pass it on to Bamboo and charge twice the rent in comparison to AFFORDABLE SOCIAL HOUSING.“Properties are spread across Wirral”.. but they fail to mention it’s only the more affluent areas, three properties in Eastham alone in the last 4 weeks. Along side the fact they take what should be SOCIAL HOUSING and make it; no housing benefit, working tenants only, and slap on all the fees like admin fees, application fees.Let’s just remember that Magenta own 50% of Bamboo and bring in 50% of all profits, yet fail to tend to issues their own tenants are having such as the mould in my property.Seems like a bit of a coincidence that a fuss was kicked up about Bamboo and now it’s featured in their magazine.

Isn’t it just Chelsea?

For an even more in depth analysis of what’s going on we once again guide you towards Joe Halewood’s peerless SPeye blog . The title of his latest post is  No DSS in council housing and social cleansing approved by Labour councils     where he writes :

In summary Labour councillors in Wirral – which includes the constituencies of Frank Field as the chair of the all party parliamentary working group on DWP matters and the new Labour Shadow DWP Minister in Margaret Greenwood – have voted for a policy of No DSS and a policy of social cleansing to take place by Magenta who have around 70% of all social housing in Wirral.

Even Tories in Wirral voted against this and even Tory voters would be ashamed of this social cleansing that the Labour council voted to allow.

In housing terms we see Magenta, Torus and by extension Liverpool Mutual Homes being the antithesis of the social landlords they repeatedly claim to be and then again we can add Liverpool City Council itself to that list as they are too setting up their own private sector landlord company called Foundations which will rent out at affordable rents and full market rent levels and without irony or shame called this an Ethical housing landlord!

It’s an SPeye opener!

So with so many outstanding questions and with Wirral Council’s representatives on Magenta Housing board  – Cllr Steve Foulkes, Cllr Jeff Green and Cllr Stuart Whittingham –  either unwilling or unable to ask them and with the various bodies below being exempt from the provisions of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) we thought we’d publicly pose the following questions :

a) Three years after Golden Gates Housing and Helena Housing formed the Torus group are senior managers planning on collapsing the group and merging with Liverpool Mutual Homes?
b) Will this see the end of local companies Golden Gates and Helena Housing?
c) Will the customers who own Golden Gates and Helena Housing be asked to vote to see if they agree with these changes ?
c) Will the control of Torus pass to the senior managers in Liverpool Mutual Homes?
d) Will the plan be good news for only a small number of people such as Rob Young CEO of Torus (and former Assistant Director of Housing at Wirral Council) who could retire with an enhanced pension package just as the CEO of Golden Gates did when Torus was formed three years ago?
e) Will the plan also be good news for the CEO of Liverpool Mutual Homes (LMH) and his senior team who will take over a much bigger Torus with a huge pay rise just as Mr Young did when Torus was formed three years ago?
f) Will the current CEO of LMH be appointed not because he is the best candidate for the job after a rigorous selection process but because his company was selected by his old friends Rob Young and Graham Burgess?
g) Will it be good news for Graham Burgess Chair of the Torus Board who having ‘retired’ as CEO from Wirral Council once again becomes a big player in the Liverpool City region?
For everyone else – social housing tenants and staff included – the answers to these questions may not be so good . Meanwhile it’s all very reminiscent of that Carl Sagan quote we’ve used before : “One of the saddest lessons of history is this : If we’ve been bamboozled long enough we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth . The bamboozle has captured us…”

 

9 thoughts on “Bamboo- zled – The Future of Social Housing?

  1. Following changes to the Magenta Housing Management board that Wirral Council voted thru in July 2016 and the move to a Skills based board there are now no tenant representatives on the Board. Also the Councillors who are on the board are not accountable to Wirral Borough Council. They have applied and are on the Board as individuals. Leaving the question who are they accountable too?

      • G’day Janet and The Good Lord

        I do hope someone can have a look at them acting as individuals and hang them by their tiny impotent bits.

        It is Davies and Foulkes isn’t it?

        Ooroo

        James

        I wonder if he has to comb it over down there, do you know Janet?

        Luv ya Lordy

  2. One of the things nobody appears to have noticed is the wholesale transfer of council housing stock to social landlord preserved the social rent levels and right to buy for social housing tenants. One side effect of the transfer of social housing (always in nicer areas) to the new social/private landlord is the loss of the right to buy aspect for the incoming tenant.

    So increased rents, less security of tenure and loss of the right to buy, combined with a reducing social housing stock on the useless PropertyPoolPlus register all result in exclusion from social housing for the very people these houses are supposed to be for.

    I do have some sympathy for Housing Associations who are being hammered by the impact of the Bedroom Tax, welfare reforms and Universal Credit which have seen their income plummet. I can understand their desire to stabilise their balance sheets. But surely they should build new houses for their private sector agency and not take much needed social housing when there is already a shortage and long (impossible) waiting list for them.

    So where is the social responsibility from the social landlords. Did it ever really exist or was it a white elephant and all smoke and mirrors?

    • In answer to question and knowing a bit about the motivation of some of the protagonists we think we’ve all been bamboozled and it was all about the power and the moolah.

      • G’day Jiminy and Leaky

        They break the law when it suits them kids.

        Look at the Wirral “Funny” Bizz £2,000,000,00 knock off case.

        Asset stripping they all knew about including their ill legal Deparrment.

        “Highbrow” and I didn’t know what “Sir Git” meant when we met him as his opening line was “I haven’t read the report”.

        He meant Beverley Edwards report that warned them about the Lockwood Engineering asset stripping.

        Ooroo

        James

        Oh “Blinking CEO” you are just a £2000,000.00 fool and their puppet, no wonder you go to that Liverpool pub.

        Keep it up Jiminy if there is housing and Adderley and Burgess and Davies and Foulkes there will be shenanigans and shit.

        SWALK Lordy XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

  3. Yes I’d love to know what’s happened to Right to Buy for housing association. This was passed into law in 2015 so when is it coming to Wirral you Orrible Tory gits?

  4. Pingback: Wirral Leaks Election Section 2018 – 4 weeks to go | Wirralleaks

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