Dipesh Shah is the ‘chair designate’ of the proposed new merged housing association.
Already the chair of Genesis, he is reported to earn £4.3 million per year from his business connections (1). He is a director of a wealth management firm with offices in tax havens like the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey (2).
Of course there is no wrongdoing in that. But his appointment as chair designate of the new merged housing association demonstrates where the new merged organisation is going.
He was appointed as a signal to private investors and banks that their money is safe in his hands.
And it is also a signal to residents and those who believe in social housing that the new organisation is nothing to do with social housing
Dipesh Shah has already shown why Kate Davies wants him as chair.
In May he defended brutal rent rises for Genesis secure tenants. Despite earning £4.3 million he did not restrain himself when talking down to elderly secure tenants who complained that their savings and pensions were being plundered. Shah said: ‘While I accept that percentage terms, some secure tenants are receiving higher rent rises than would normally be the case..(3)” This includes a secure resident receiving a rent rise of 177%.
He also defended the scandalous policy of the sale and conversion of existing social housing to ‘affordable’ rent. He argues that sale of voids and the conversion’ of social rent homes to ‘affordable rent’ (about £100 per week more): ‘address housing supply by creating additional funds to enable us to build more homes.’
He failed to point out that in from 2015 to 2107 Genesis built exactly three social homes – so he defends huge rent rises for the construction of only out-of-reach homes.
HIs dismissive attitude towards residents was also displayed by his response to the issue of the very poor cyclical maintenance of Genesis properties,“I an unaware of any “failures” in undertakings on cyclical maintenance.” This information may come as a shock for all those residents of Genesis waiting for long overdue cyclical maintenance
Residents and shareholders, and all those who sincerely want to end the housing crisis, have been put on notice that the merger is not for them.
(1) https://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/person.asp personId=8627924&privcapId=20346539
(3) Letter to Genesis Residents of 18 May 2017