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Study backs outsourcing council houses - Robson
A NEW independent study supports moves to outsource local authority housing, a leading councillor has claimed.
Councillor Clive Robson, Durham County Council’s (DCC) cabinet member for housing, was speaking following the publication of a report on the economic impact of the affordable housing sector in the North.
Following a nine-month study, academics at Sheffield Hallam University concluded Durham City Homes (DCH), which manages 6,000 council houses in the former Durham City district for DCC, boosted the local economy by nearly £30m in 2011-12 and helped to create 258 jobs.
The council is looking at transferring the properties, along with 13,000 in Easington and Wear Valley currently run by arms-length management organisations, to a new, single management body.
Coun Robson said: “The findings show that while DCH has had a strong impact on the local economy, its contribution could be significantly greater if it had the financial benefits of being an independent, stand-alone organisation.
“This clearly supports our proposal to transfer the ownership of our housing stock to an independent organisation that can, through its financial flexibility, invest significant resources to support continued and greater investment into homes in the county and deliver further regeneration for our communities.”
Switching to a single management body would require the backing of tenants via a ballot and the Government. Further developments are expected later this year.