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With their Bosses Earning Twice that of Other Charities, Have Housing Associations ‘Lost their Social Purpose?’

The UK’s 13 biggest housing associations paid their executives over £22m with bosses earning almost double the average for the UK’s biggest charities

Photo: Alamy

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Analysis of annual accounts for the members of the G15, the group of the UK’s biggest housing associations, found that their chief executives earned netted some £3.9m between them, or an average pay packet of around £300,000, Byline Times can reveal.

Meanwhile, the average salary at the UK’s 100 largest charities, was just £175,000. Pay at major housing associations outstripped the pay for the heads of some of the country’s biggest charities, including Mind and Cancer Research UK.

Non-executives, meanwhile, earned almost £2.5m last year usually for giving the 13 firms a few hours of advice a month.

The findings have led housing campaigners to warn that the nominally ‘non-profit’ housing associations have lost their “social purpose” and were wasting money even as many were failing to give thousands of their tenants a “decent home”. 

Housing associations are private non-profits that run 63% of social housing in the UK – accommodation linked to local incomes in order to make it affordable for those on average incomes or using benefits. 

But the G15 housing associations in particular – including L&Q, Clarion, Peabody, MTVH and Notting Hill Genesis – have been the subject of constant scandals in the past two years over the poor quality of the homes they offer their often vulnerable tenants.


Social Housing Providers’ Billions in Surpluses as Record Number of Tenants Report Poor Conditions

The G15 housing associations have been the subject of constant scandals in the past two years over the poor quality of their homes

Byline Times previously found the biggest private providers of social housing are registering billions of pounds in surpluses – despite the record numbers of tenants reporting damp, mould and other disrepair in their homes.

The three highest-paid G15 executives worked for Peabody, Clarion and L&Q, and all netted over £320,000 in pay and bonuses last year, with the highest-paid directors at Peabody earning £438,000 in pay and bonuses.

One Housing Group – which was recently taken over by fellow Housing Association Riverside in search of “financial resilience” – paid over £1.7m across its leadership team in pay and bonuses last year, one of the highest rates in the G15.

Pay has stayed steady for executives at the 14 ‘non-profit’ housing providers and did not significantly drop between last year and the year before. 

“It’s just another symptom of the fact that major housing associations have lost their social purpose,” says Suzanne Muna, the secretary of the Social Housing Campaign Group.

“If you look at the traditions and where these associations come from their founders would be horrified. 

“They pay these huge salaries and they spend a lot of money actually investing in building rather than investing in quality housing and giving people the stability of a decent home that’s affordable.”

“This isn’t comparing them to your local charities but the biggest national and international ones, which speaks volumes,” Muna added. 

“Housing Association executives talk about their responsibility to look after the finances of the organisation… but then at the other end of the scale, they’re quite happy to splash huge amounts of money on executive pay.”


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A spokesperson for the G15 said: “The G15’s members own or manage more than 770,000 homes across the country, house around one in ten Londoners, and build more than 10,000 new homes each year. Every year, members invest almost £1 billion in improvement works and repairs to people’s homes, ensuring people can live well.

“Together, G15 members are the largest providers of new affordable homes in London and a significant proportion of all affordable homes across England. Members are independent, charitable organisations and all the money they make is reinvested in building more affordable homes and delivering services for residents. 

“Members also undertake commercial activity, such as providing homes sold at market price, with the surpluses used to cross-subsidise affordable homes.

“Executive pay is set by Boards following independent market reviews. Full consideration is given to value for money, current market levels, and the importance of strong leadership and talent retention for organisations that are large, complex and commercially driven to deliver social goals.”

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