I recently wrote elsewhere about the way some care providers pay staff basic wages but make sure that the people at the top are generously rewarded. Charity Chiefs have also been in the firing line too.
Housing Association chiefs are the latest to receive big pay rises with one now earning almost £500,000 a year. That’s David Cowans the CEO at Places for People who received an 11% pay-rise last year. Jane Ashcroft the CEO at Anchor saw her pay rose 7% to £366,000, and David Bennett head of the Sanctuary Group had a 15% pay rose taking his earnings to £319,00.
And the average pay of the top 100 housing association chiefs was £183,000, a 5.5% annual pay hike.
Taxpayers and tenants who are paying for these high salaries might wonder why and as the Taxpayers Alliance says “Housing Associations are not run for profit and proceeds are expected to be invested in new homes not splashed on huge pay packets”
They inherited their housing stock from local councils and have done little to provide new homes, a source of frustration to the government. Four out of five housing associations didn’t build any new homes last year. The chancellor has criticised their lack of effort and plans to give the 1.3 million housing association tenants the “right to buy“. In the past local councils managed housing stocks and built good quality homes (as you can see from their resale value).
Of course the National Housing Federation is on the defensive about these criticisms and says they need “agile leaders with considerable experience who can manage complex businesses with turnovers in the hundreds of millions and employing hundreds of people.”
I’m not sure what’s so complex about housing associations which deal in, well, houses and their new build record is lamentable (local authorities have not done much either with third not replacing any of the houses sold off under the “right to buy” legislation). Hardly a high risk business with much competition. And that hardly explains the inflation busting pay raises they’ve received.
The NHF also claims that “On average the CEO’s pay is ten times that of their lowest paid staff – significantly less than in other regulated industries“. They are lies damned lies, and statistics – never trust averages, particularly when it comes to pay comparisons!