At least a third of Southwark Council tenants will not get a new kitchen and bathroom in the next five years, despite an election promise from Labour councillors.
In its manifesto last year and in leaflets delivered to all residents, Southwark Labour pledged:
“We will deliver a quality kitchen and bathroom for every council tenant.”
This pledge then featured in the Council Plan and a report to the Council Cabinet agreed in February.
The Council is now backtracking on its promise and has stated that only tenants with kitchens over 20 years old and bathrooms over 30 years old will be eligible for replacements. This means that around 13,000 – almost a third – of Southwark’s 37,000 tenants will now see no improvement works to their homes.
Labour-run Southwark Council has estimated that 17,500 kitchens and 21,400 bathrooms need updating over 23,700 council homes in total. All homes will be surveyed before works begin to confirm if works are required so the numbers could reduce again.
The Council has also stated that any homes in blocks or on estates that are deemed to expensive to maintain in their current form and therefore require more major works will not be eligible for new kitchens and bathrooms.
Southwark Liberal Democrat Housing Spokesperson, Councillor Ben Johnson, said:
“Any resident who read Labour’s election leaflets will have believed that all council tenants were getting a new kitchen and bathroom.
“Now we see the Council trying to desperately to wriggle off the hook with its doublespeak and new criteria. They have misled tenants.
“This promise was obviously not worth the paper it was written on. People will rightly not believe any future pledges Southwark Labour makes. 13,000 Southwark residents is a lot of people to let down.
“Liberal Democrats are fighting tenants’ corner and are calling on the Council to honour its original pledge or apologise to Southwark’s tenants for misleading them.”