While tenants have been digesting the news that Lambeth Council's rents will have to rise this April, Lambeth Lib Dems have again demonstrated that they haven't dropped their irresponsible approach to the housing finances.
Labour has exposed the secret Lib Dem plans to savage Lambeth's housing service with £9 million of cuts. Their refusal to increase funding for the service means that, to balance the budget as the law demands, they would have to impose cuts on a scale never before seen in Lambeth.
The Lib Dem axe would sweep through housing, removing staff and frontline services and leaving it facing meltdown. The last time Lib Dems were running Lambeth's housing service they were so incompetent they managed to cut services while making them cost more at the same time in a botched restructuring plan called 'Reframing'. This time, they plan to make the same mistakes only on a far bigger scale.
When they were finally voted out of office in 2006, the Lib Dems left behind a toxic cocktail of £7.78m overspends and no financial reserves in the bank. The council has already been forced to raise rents to clear up the Lib Dem mess.
Labour's Steve Reed commented: 'By opposing the rise in rents, the Lib Dems would have to introduce savage cuts to frontline services. The Lib Dems want to cover up the truth about their plans, but today Labour can expose exactly where the Lib Dem axe will fall.'
Here's the nightmare that £9m Lib Dem cuts would mean:
• Half of all housing staff sacked
• Area offices closed down
• Rent collection staff reduced and rents left uncollected
• Pest control service scrapped
• Safety patrols slashed
• Call centre waiting times increased
• No window cleaning
• All concierges removed
• CCTV switched off
• External repairs and redecorations left undone
• Household repairs scrapped
• One in every three homes left without central heating or watertight doors, windows or roofs
Pictured: estates like Cotton Gardens would lose their concierge if the Lib Dems were allowed to set the housing budget