Gateshead Council and my Labour opponent are very keen to boast about the governments Decent Homes standard and the great work Gateshead Council is doing in improving homes. I am getting an increasing load casework from Council tenants who are not so impressed.
Today I visited the home of a Council Tenant in Blaydon, who is having her house rewired by the Council. I have to say I was totally disgusted. As a council tenant in the house of 13 years and a single mum with three young children, she has been treated very shabbily.
The house is riven with damp and one of her daughters had to be taken to hospital a year ago with pneumonia. The windows get drafts through and her extremely inefficient boiler is not to be replaced despite all the neighbours getting combi boilers in.
The decent homes work has only permitted a rewire and the councils team are now going to take 3 weeks rather than the original week. They state that she has to put all the furniture in the room by 8am but that it is acceptable to live in the property. This would require all the beds etc to be put down at night, work that is beyond her physical capacity. Gateshead homes are letting this person live in squalor and putting the health of three young girls at risk. In addition the work requires her to be found alternative accommodation. All in all a disgrace and certainly not something to be proud of.