Sunderland Housing Group's disgrace


The Sunderland Echo today carries a major article today (15th March) headlined 6,200 HOMES GONE – JUST 93 BUILT


Figures show the number of people waiting for a home has risen from 5,100 before council housing stock was transferred to the Sunderland Housing Group in March 2001 to 19,137 today.



Sunderland Housing Group (SHG) is trying to expand its operations to take over council homes in neighbouring authorities including Sedgefield. Sedgefield tenants and trade unionists have set up Sedgefield Against Transfer to fight off privatisation. They have produced a Sedgefield campaign newspaper to get the arguments against transfer across to tenants and publicise growing support to secure the ‘fourth option’ for council housing. Sedgefield council can meet the government’s Decent Homes target using its own resources but senior officers are arguing tenants should accept SHG as their new landlord. Senior housing managers can expect big pay rises if the transfer goes ahead.


Two weeks ago Alan Walter from Defend Council Housing spoke at a public meeting alongside Kevin Rowan from the Northern Region TUC, Sunderland councillor Bryn Sidaway and Pat McCort from Amicus.



Sunderland Echo reports…


“When SHG took over Sunderland’s council housing, 3,500 homes were earmarked to be demolished over 10 years – figures which were agreed with the Government.
But SHG increased that to 6,000 – controversially including many privately-owned homes which had been purchased under the council's right to buy scheme.


“But SHG has seen the successful completion of private developments. It has already completed The Athenaeum and Maritime Buildings and is on target to complete the Post Office, Customs House and Hammerton Hall by the end of April.

”Sunderland councillor Bryn Sidaway said he thought the comparison between the number of properties to rent and private developments was "disgraceful".
He added: "SHG has to accept the lion share of the blame for the massive waiting lists for affordable rented accommodation in the city."


“But Tyne and Wear Euro MP Martin Callanan called for a full investigation into SHG.
He said: "What a housing group is doing investing £42million in private developments when 19,000 people are waiting for homes I just don't know.
"There should be a full investigation into the financial dealings of the housing group."