With just two months to go until the Bedroom Tax brings chaos to the lives of social housing tenants, one housing association has chosen to start paying board members tens of thousands of pounds just to attend a few meetings.
According to Inside Housing, the Bedfordshire Pilgrims Housing Association will now pay board members an annual fee of £26,500 a year, with possibly twice that likely to line the grubby pockets of the Chairperson. This is despite National Housing Federation guidelines which recommend that board members should not be paid more than £6000 – in itself a tidy sum considering some boards only meet four times a year.
Even this is controversial. Under charity law, the board members of registered charities are usually not permitted to be paid. This is why the charity sector is often known as the voluntary sector. Most Housing Associations and Social Landlords are not registered charities however, but simply non-profit making companies. This means there is nothing to stop greedy housing association bosses plundering rent payments to award themselves lucrative payments.
Social Housing board members are usually local low level toffs or formerly highly paid retired professionals, trying to gain a bit of charitable cred down the golf club by spending a few hours a year at meetings. Now it seems that even when the rich ‘volunteer’ they expect to be paid for it!
This is money that could be spent plugging the gap and ensuring that any evictions due to the Bedroom Tax and other brutal cuts are avoided. Yet it seems that even with hundreds of thousands of social housing residents facing an imminent threat of homelessness, board members are far more concerned with awarding themselves as much cash as possible at the expense of already struggling tenants.
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