Former GHA chief Lennon says cash drought forced him out.

Former GHA chief Lennon says cash drought forced him out.


 


Third Force News


09.02.07


 


 


THE chief executive of Glasgow Housing Association has stood down, claiming the executive had underfunded the charity by up to £500m.


 


Michael Lennon, who had his annual salary doubled to £200,000 during his three year tenure, said he was told by the executive on his first day in the job there was no more money for GHA, despite the fact that it needed hundreds of millions for second stage transfer (SST), the process by which tenants take control of decisions affecting local social housing.


 


GHA has already laid claim to hundreds of millions in executive cash. The exchequer had written off nearly £1bn in debt that had hung over th~80,000 homes the association had taken over from Glasgow City Council


 


But Lennon claims that while the executive thought that Glasgow’s housing was sorted financially, they had not budgeted for the next stage of transfers to 63 local housing organisations (LHOs).


 


He said: ‘It was made very clear from the outset that the executive had provided the funds to assist the Glasgow transfer and that no further funding would be made available,’ he said. ‘GHA did not need additional resources.’


 


Fraser Stewart of New Gorbals Housing Association was one of many critics but acknowledged that that SST may not have been funded by a ‘gap’ of anything between £8Om and £200m. However, Mr Stewart, like many others, suspects there is money hidden away inside GHA’s business plan that could pay for SST, if there was a political will to find it.


 


He said: ‘They just want to keep this big, fat overfed beast,’ he said of GHA. Lennon, meanwhile, clearly feels second-stage transfer has overshadowed what he would regard as his real achievements: an investment programme totalling £lm every two days and a new system of governance. Adverts looking for his successor make no mention of SST.


 


His departure leaves the organisation, which has 76,000 tenants, searching for its fourth leader in six years.