Grant Shapps warns ‘time running out’ for landlords

Grant Shapps has attacked housing associations for having a lack of transparency and warned that ‘time is running out’ for them to open themselves to scrutiny.

The housing minister wrote to David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, calling for him to push member associations to ‘throw open their books to the public’.

Mr Shapps said since coming to office last year he has made repeated calls for housing associations to open themselves to public scrutiny but that little progress has been made.

He argues that landlords should follow the lead of The Home Group which has voluntarily published details of all spending over £500.

Mr Shapps said: ‘After 18 months of asking, housing associations have still failed to follow our lead and open themselves up to wider public scrutiny.

‘Taxpayers and tenants have a right to know how much they spend, from repairs, to rents and expenses.

‘Greater transparency is not an added extra but a vital means of cutting costs and ensuring efficiency by helping every pound work harder. So today I’m sending out a clear message.

‘Housing associations are running out of time to come up with plans that will dramatically transform transparency throwing open their books and publishing details of what they spend.

‘With Whitehall taking the lead, and town halls following suit, these landlords are increasingly looking outdated and out of touch.

‘And with our plans to consult on the potential extension of the Freedom of Information Act to housing associations, the clock is ticking for those landlords who keep their books stubbornly closed.’

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