Magazine article Public Finance

Doubts Cast over Reality of RSL Efficiency Gains

Magazine article Public Finance

Doubts Cast over Reality of RSL Efficiency Gains

Article excerpt

A question mark has been raised over efficiency gains forecast by housing associations as part of the Gershon review.

According to the finance director of a major housing group, savings calculated last year by his and other registered social landlords were so large that they themselves did not believe the figures.

All RSLs were required to submit annual efficiency statements to the Housing Corporation last July.

The corporation later declared that RSLs had exceeded expectations and were on course to save £355m by 2008, as demanded by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

Jon Rouse, the corporation's chief executive, praised associations in October for rising to the challenge set by ministers after forecasting gains worth £246m in 2005/06 alone.

But Kevin Rodgers, the finance director at Whitefriars Housing Group, questioned the validity of the exercise, claiming that the figures his RSL used were no more than 'a whole set of indexes thrown together'.

In particular, Whitefriars doubted whether the money it appeared to be saving on capital works necessarily represented greater efficiency.

'I'm not sure that the gains are real but we will have achieved it,' he told a seminar at the National Housing Federation's finance conference at Warwick University on March 16. …

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