Monday, December 08, 2008

“Housing bosses received ‘grotesque’ pay increases”

Former Head of Shelter and retiring Board member, Chris Holmes, of the now defunct Housing Corporation attacks housing association bosses for not only their pay but also for initiating mega mergers solely to further their own careers.

He thought that they only got away with this because the Corporation was “too soft”.

He doesn’t think that the market justifies any salary above £200,000 per year. The Corporation tried to speak to some associations about pay but was ignored. Maximum pay levels he thinks should be set depending on size and if these are ignored the association should be put under supervision.

Possibly even more incendiary than this attack is his assertion that in a significant minority of stock transfers, new housing association boards were almost totally made up with white males unrepresentative of their communities.

He finally attacks housing associations for “unnecessary and hugely wasteful” corporate hospitality.

Personally I think even £200,000 per year is too much. Hazel Blears, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government receives £137,000. The Prime Minister himself (for crying out loud) earns less £200,000 (£188k). A maximum cap for pay would be a good start. The highest paid CEO is at union busting Anchor Trust where he got a staggering £327k!

It should be possible for the new Housing Regulator the “Tenant Services Authority” (TSA) to verify the claims on the unrepresentative make up of boards.

By coincidence I contacted the TSA on Friday about a union matter and so far have been pleased at their efficient and courteous response.

Check out my previous posts on excessive housing chief pay here and the original interview with Chris this weekend in Inside Housing.

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