MP in Job Plea to Osborne

Ashton MP Angela Rayner is calling on Chancellor George Osborne to personally intervene to save jobs at Tameside social housing provider New Charter.

She is also demanding an urgent meeting with Housing Minister Brandon Lewis, New Charter chief executive Ian Munro and trade unions to discuss the issue.

Mr Munro said jobs at New Charter would be lost as housing associations nationwide face meeting a Government requirement to reduce rents by one per cent each year over the next four years.

“Quite how many people will leave the organisation as a consequence we are still working through with trades unions and making sure that we continue the levels of services we currently have,” he told the Tameside Reporter.

“But inevitably we will be employing fewer people over the next four years as a consequence of the Government’s changes,” he said.

“Cutting our rents by one per cent each year for the next four years might not sound like very much, but actually over four years it adds up to £13m of our overall budget.

“I naturally have concerns about how we deliver the efficiencies that asks for.

“Our board of management is very clear that we will not touch the budget that we have for repairs and maintenance.

“We are going to continue to invest in repairs and maintenance and home improvements.”

In looking for efficiencies he said New Charter will save on overheads and drive as much profit out of the work it undertakes as a builder on behalf of other clients.

However, he conceded there was no escaping the fact that a significant proportion of expenditure was on staff and so that inevitably meant looking at not only changing the nature of the association’s services, but reducing staffing costs as well.

The Government says its decision to cut rents will save it £1.5bn as it reduces the welfare bill, but Denton and Reddish MP Andrew Gwynne brought up the issue of job losses at New Charter in Parliament this week, demanding to know if the Government had done its homework on figures.

Full story in this week’s Tameside Reporter