A ROW has erupted between Thurrock’s MP and her Labour challenger over the state of council housing in Thurrock.

The spat arose from the council’s introduction of the Well Homes scheme, in which inspectors visit the homes of owner-occupiers and private tenants to ask questions about their homes and health, as part of the council’s plan to raise standards.

However, Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle Price responded that the council should “get its own houses in order” before criticising the private sector, arguing a large percentage of her constituency casework was over complaints from tenants of the borough’s 10,000 council homes.

She said: “In particular we have a number of properties which are badly infected with mould.

“Some of it is due to poor installation of double glazing units which have caused a long term problem for the property.

“Some of it is due to poor contract management and a failure to ensure that works booked by contractors have been properly executed.”

But Labour’s prospective MP Polly Billington responded that of the 7,000 families privately renting in Thurrock, two thirds received housing benefit.

She said: “It is only reasonable that if those landlords get taxpayers cash they deliver value for money and a decent service.”

Council leader John Kent also pitched in, admitting there had been a “real lack of investment” in Thurrock’s council homes, but that this had begun with the Conservative administration in 2004.

Labour has led the council since 2010.