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Housing and homelessness problems reduced

The lives of families who find themselves homeless, live in temporary accommodation, and of Luton Council tenants have improved significantly in the last 4 years – according to assessments for and by the Audit Commission.

A comparison of “Key Performance Indicators” on Housing and Homelessness shows an incredible turnaround in the four years the Liberal Democrats ran the Council, leading to the Housing Service being awarded 4-star, “Excellent” rating by the Audit Commission.

Figures reported to Luton Council last night show that:

  • Council tenants of all backgrounds were more satisfied with the Housing service, and chances to be involved in decision-making, in 2006 than in 2003 – with a 13.6% rise among tenants from black and minority ethnic communities

  • The average time families and pregnant women spend in Bed and Breakfast accommodation is now just 3 weeks – compared to 18 weeks under Labour

  • The average length of stay for people in Hostel accommodation has been cut by more than half, from 23 weeks under Luton Labour in 2002/3, to 10 weeks

  • Over 95% of tenants are now satisfied with the Repairs service

  • Total rent arrears owed to the Council by tenants are less than under Labour

  • The number of tenants owing 3 months rent or more has reduced substantially

  • Energy efficiency – linked to fuel bills – has improved by more than a quarter. Homes are now 75% energy-efficient on average, compared to 59% in 2002/3

Liberal Democrat councillor Jenny Davies says:

“We get a lot of bluster from certain Labour figures on Housing – but the facts can’t be denied. Luton’s Housing services are at their best ever”

“We dramatically cut the time that people spend in Bed and Breakfast or Hostel accommodation; launched a huge investment programme under Decent Homes Plus; continued the affordable warmth Cosy Rosy scheme ; and took the decisions needed to reshape and improve our services. The result is an Excellent, 4-star Housing service, as judged by independent external assessors.”

“The question now is whether Labour councillors who oppose any modernisation will be able to maintain that, or if we’ll be back to people spending 18 weeks in Bed and Breakfasts and 23 weeks in Hostels as they had to the last time Labour were in charge. I shall be watching closely.”


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