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Communities minister visits Leathermarket JMB

London SE1 website team

Communities minister Don Foster visited Bermondsey on Monday to learn about the pioneering work of local tenant management organisation Leathermarket JMB.

Communities minister visits Leathermarket JMB
Don Foster with Cllr Richard Livingstone, Simon Hughes MP, John Paul Maytum and Kipling Estate residents Terry and Gillian Smith

The minister visited Leathermarket JMB which is responsible for about 1,500 homes on behalf of Southwark Council.

The council recently granted self-financing status to Leathermarket JMB, making it the first TMO in the country to retain all the rent and service charges it collects, passing on a fixed fee to the council for central services.

"I am really pleased that Southwark Council has become the first council in the country to do this," said Cllr Richard Livingstone, cabinet member for resources.

"This shows we're leading the way in devolving power to local communities and we actively support schemes to get more tenant involvement. It makes sense to allow Leathermarket JMB to control their own finances and have more power over their own destiny, given how satisfied their tenants are with their services.

"This does really put Southwark Council at the cutting edge of how we are dealing with tenant management organisations and our bold move will hopefully encourage other councils to follow suit."

Don Foster MP said: "As long as I'm a minister I will be a huge positive supporter of tenant management organisations. I'm really keen to have strong tenant participation."

John Paul Maytum, chair of Leathermarket JMB, said: "We were delighted to welcome Don Foster to Leathermarket JMB and show how we've been using the powers given to us to transform the quality of our residents' lives.

"The minister was genuinely enthused by what we had already achieved and how we were looking to use more of the localism powers brought forward by the government to do things like bring more genuinely affordable homes to our area.

"We were delighted by how much time he spent talking to JMB residents and staff and how he paid tribute to the 17 years of volunteers who have made the JMB the jewel in the crown of Southwark's housing."

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