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Tories on warpath over Morrison fiasco
8:00am Friday 28th September 2012 in News
THURROCK Conservatives have slammed Labour’s “mismanagement” of the Morrison repairs contract.
Cllr Val Morris-Cook, Thurrock Council’s portfolio holder for housing, announced earlier this month that the much maligned Morrison contract, signed in 2010, would not be extended beyond its five year term.
She said, too, she was exploring ways of cancelling the contract, but added that had the original management of the contract been better, it would be easier for the council to exit the agreement.
The Tories have hit back by insisting Labour have “mismanaged” the contract and are now “trying to rewrite history”.
Cllr Rob Gledhill, the Conservative spokesman for housing, said: “Labour’s failure to manage their contractor properly is unacceptable.
“Hundreds of residents have had to put up with shoddy and even dangerous repairs because Labour hasn’t got a grip.
“Now, instead of accepting they let residents down by failing to manage the contract, Labour has chosen to try to rewrite history.” At a full council meeting in July, Cllr Morris-Cook claimed the repairs contract fiasco is a problem the Labour administration inherited.
It was the Conservatives in charge of the council at the time the contract was signed and they argue proper consultation was carried out, with a host of options available to councillors should there be a problem with the agreement.
According to the Tories, these include financial penalties that could be charged should Morrison not meet certain standards and an option to leave the contract and seek compensation should there be a “fundamental failure”.
Cllr Redhill added: “Despite this being in black and white, Labour failed to monitor the contract for 18 months, tried to withhold payments, ended up paying out millions more and nearly bankrupted the housing budget. “We have seen the average time to re-let an empty property go up from one month to six months. “Labour have made promises to fix the problems, but all they have delivered is failure after failure.”