Corbyn says ‘it shouldn’t take long’ to put housing associations under FoI

At PMQs, Labour leader presses the case for Freedom of Information applying to housing associations to strengthen tenant rights.

Jeremy Corbyn has told the Commons “it should not take long” to amend the Freedom of Information Act to apply to housing associations.

“We should not be playing around with semantics,” Corbyn said, speaking at PMQs.

“Two years on from Grenfell, when will the government strengthen tenant rights and apply the Freedom of Information Act to housing associations?”

Corbyn challenged Theresa May on her post-Grenfell legacy.

“Too little has changed, the pain of survivors continues,” he said.

“The government has failed to rehouse all the survivors, to retrofit sprinklers, and to hire more fire fighters,” he said.

May maintained all survivors have been offered temporary or permanent accommodation.

“It isn’t just about buildings, it is about support, including mental health support,” May said.

“We must do all we can to ensure a tragedy like this never happens again.”

May told the House one of the “most disturbing” aspects of Grenfell was that tenants’ warnings were ignored.

“The government asked if this was happening elsewhere, the government has been trying to strengthen tenants’ voices, and in future they will be heard,” she said.

Earlier this week, 24housing reported calls in the Commons for housing associations to have more oversight from councils  as ‘under the table’ mergers made provider functions remote from residents.

During a Westminster hall debate on the accountability of associations, members were told of growing concern over “confusing” scrutiny with unclear demarcation between the roles of social housing regulator and the sector’s related ombudsman – all of which could be amalgamated into a single body.

The case was again made for putting associations under the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act – as is soon to apply in Scotland.