Incommunities says Council statement over funding for home adaptations 'unfortunate' (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Social housing landlord says £250,000 funding will continue
A spat between Bradford Council and the district’s largest social housing group over who pays for the home adaptations for disabled people is now being resolved.
The Council said last week that they could be forced pay out an extra £500,000 a year on home adaptations for disabled people following the end of a ten-year agreement with Incommunities.
When the Council transferred its stock of council houses to Incommunities (then known as the Bradford Community Housing Trust) in 2003, the landlord agreed to fund around £500,000-a-year Disabled Facilities Grants for its tenants.
That agreement ended in March, but Incommunities has offered to continue paying £250,000 each year towards the Disabled Facilities Grant, which it says is “much more than other housing associations in the area”. They added that they have paid out £5million over the last ten years.
Although the Council is investigating alternative sources of funding, they have said that the massive bill will result in a priority waiting list for disabled people needing vital home adaptation.
Bradford Council Leader Councillor David Green told the Telegraph & Argus last week: “Trying to find an extra £500,000 a year for Disabled Facilities Grants at a time of unprecedented Government budget cuts is a major blow for the Council.”
But Incommunities group board chairman Dave Procter yesterday said it was unfortunate that the Council had seemed to blame Incommunities for an issue caused by increasing demands on the service, financial pressures facing the Council and the landlord’s own budgetary constraints.
“The difference between our reduction in contribution is £250,000, not £500,000 as given by the Council’s press statement,” he said.
An Incommunities spokesman added: “We wanted to continue to support the Council as far as we could, we recognise the importance and value of these works for our customers. So our Board agreed to carry on funding the service by £250,000 annually, which is much more than other housing associations in the area. This means our tenants are having to pay proportionately more for these services than tenants of other housing associations in support of what is in fact a statutory duty provided by the Council.”
David Shepherd, assistant director of regeneration for Bradford Council, said yesterday: “Incommunities and the Council have agreed to work together to seek a joint resolution to this issue.”