Great Yarmouth social housing maintenance ‘to be run for residents, not shareholders’, says UNISON

UNISON has welcomed Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s decision to take maintenance of its social housing stock back under direct control.

The newly formed cabinet announced this week that repairs and refurbishment work for its 5,000 homes would be transferred from Norse to a council-owned company by September 2024.

The agreement with Great Yarmouth Norse, which currently employs 79 staff and has an estimated turnover of £7.9 million, runs out next year.

Council leader Carl Smith said the move to a wholly owned subsidiary was “the best way we can deliver high-quality services for our residents and the best value for money is to form a new company.

He added: ‘’This is an important decision and an exciting opportunity for the council to exercise more control over the management of the service and to engage with residents in shaping future delivery.”

UNISON Norfolk County branch secretary Jonathan Dunning welcomed the move, but warned that the transferred workers must now enjoy the same pay and conditions as their colleagues employed directly by Great Yarmouth Borough Council.

He said: “We applaud the new council for taking back direct control of its social housing maintenance.

“This is part of a trend where local authorities are turning their backs on a fickle and unreliable private sector and ensuring their services are run for the benefit of residents, not shareholders.

“Staff will now be looking to the council to address the gulf between pay and conditions endured by these workers compared to their directly employed colleagues.”