As poverty increases, social rent properties in Salford are dwindling, as housing companies move towards the more expensive and so-called 'affordable rent', and shared ownership deals.
The latest accounts of City West Housing Trust, published this month for the year 2016 to March 2017, show the gradual shifting away from social rent properties.
In Eccles, 98 high rise flats were converted from social rent to market rent via the City West offshoot profit making company, ForLiving Ltd, set up this year to 'buy and sell real estate'. In February, and as revealed by the Salford Star last year, the company also bought 99 Private Rent Sector, or PRS, apartments in Ordsall.
During 2016-17, City West delivered 327 properties, none of which were for social rent – 190 'affordable rent'; 38 'affordable home ownership' and the 99 PRS flats. This year, the company states that it expects to deliver a further 157 units, again, none of which will be social rent – 144 'affordable rent' and 13 'affordable home ownership'.
Over the last financial year, City West's social rent properties have declined by 259 units – from 13,244 in 2016, to 12,985 in 2017. Meanwhile, there's been a rise of 154 'affordable rent' properties, up from 581 to 735 during that period.
City West's social housing rents altogether produced a surplus of £21.68million in the year to March 2017, compared to £18.99million the year before, an increase of almost £3million. The company made an overall surplus in 2016/17 of £16.363million on its 14,951 properties, up from £15.2million the year before.
City West's highest paid director received £160,000 including pensions and benefits in kind, up £3,000 from the previous year, while its highest paid member of staff moved up an income bracket to earn between £70,000 and £80,000.
For the 88 City West tenants affected by the benefit cap life isn't so easy, with them losing an average of £40 a week. For this group, total arrears rose by an average £191 per household in the first six months of the cap.
City West states in the accounts that funds from its market rents are ring fenced 'to supporting the delivery of new affordable properties'. Only problem is that the company's 'new affordable properties' don't include social rent...
* The accounts also state that the cost of removing and replacing cladding systems on high rises that have failed Government fire safety tests is estimated to be £1.7million. City West also announced last week that it is to fit sprinkler systems in all of the twelve blocks that failed the tests.