Star date: 2nd February 2016


Langworthy councillor Paul Dennett - many people's favourite to get the Labour Party nomination to stand as Salford City Mayor in May - last night denied any impropriety in obtaining a social housing flat at Albion Towers last summer.

Dennett, who picks up an allowance of £23,450 as Strategic Assistant Mayor, was a board member of the co-op that runs Albion Towers at the time he got the flat, and says that the Albion panel "decided that I was a suitable candidate for a tenancy". Salford has a growing housing waiting list with an average of 27 bids for every affordable flat that becomes available in the city.

Full details here...

Albion Towers Salford Albion Towers Salford Albion Towers Salford
David - Homeless in Salford
click image to enlarge

Langworthy Councillor, Paul Dennett, is seen by many as a shoe-in to be the next City Mayor of Salford. A close ally of present Mayor, Ian Stewart (who is standing down), and the current £23,450 Strategic Assistant Mayor, Dennett is standing as a candidate for the Labour Party mayoral nomination against Councillor Roger Jones and Councillor Paul Wilson, for which voting begins this week amongst Party members.

Whoever gets to be the official Labour Party candidate is almost guaranteed to win the election for City Mayor in May, with the Conservatives and UKIP the only parties that have so far declared to be standing candidates, plus Independent Michael Felse. However, today there are question marks over how Councillor Dennett obtained a social housing flat in Albion Towers, Pendleton, last summer.

Salford Council's housing waiting list now has 14,194 households on its register, while the number of social housing properties has totally declined over the last six years. Indeed, the Council admits that "most applicants have little chance of ever being re-housed".

There are an average of 27 bids for every affordable flat that becomes available in the city. And to get priority social housing in Salford you have to be pregnant, have dependent children living with you, be over sixty years of age, ill or disabled, homeless because of a fire or flood, be 16 or 17 years old or leaving an institution such as the armed forces or prison, according to Council criteria.

Paul Dennett is none of these. As a single male he would have been the lowest priority. Yet last summer the Assistant Mayor obtained a flat in Albion Towers, run by the Windsor Albion Co-operative of which he is a board member (as declared in the Council's official register of interests).

"I have never been involved in Windsor Albion Housing Co-op's allocation panel - they are the body which makes the decision" Councillor Dennett told the Salford Star "In fact, up until recently I have only ever been a co-opted member of the board with no voting rights."

Windsor Albion Housing Co-op wouldn't comment on any individual tenants, due to data protection policies, but Adele Langford, its Operations Manager, told the Star that it abides by normal rules related to social housing waiting lists, although it does have its own allocation procedure...

"We use Salford Homesearch to advertise and interview a percentage of the applicants who bid but we also have our own book of interest too (everyone on the list still has to be registered with Salford Homesearch)" she added "All applicants are asked to complete our own application forms and provide two references, which are checked.

"Like other housing providers we are conscious of the impact of housing shortage and homelessness in the local community so we take care with this process and all aspects of personal circumstances are taken into account" she explained "We take our responsibilities set out in our management agreements very seriously; we follow policy and procedures developed by our members through consultation and are guided by and abide by legislation when delivering services on behalf of relevant landlords and our membership as a whole."

The Salford Star asked Councillor Dennett under what criteria he was allowed housing in the block, to which he responded... "I initially moved out of council housing after effectively being made homeless. After a period of sofa-surfing and living in shared accommodation my house-mates moved to Kent, which required me to look for alternative accommodation.  
"I was registered with Salford Homesearch - for which I had to complete and file my application form" he added "The local lettings policy for Albion Towers also required me to submit an additional application form (complete with references), undertake the necessary affordability checks and attend an allocations panel interview. The panel asked me questions about my personal circumstances, accommodation history, and ability to meet the costs of the flat. After the interview the panel decided that I was a suitable candidate for a tenancy."

According to latest Government figures, at the time Councillor Dennett got the Albion Towers flat, there were 112 eligible homeless households in priority need of housing, and 119 eligible homeless people in Salford not in priority need. Of these, there were 24 single males who were eligible for assistance, homeless and in priority need.

"I'm proud to live in Council and Social Housing in Salford, and have done for almost all my time living in the city" said Councillor Dennett "Social Housing is a right, not a privilege, and I am committed to fighting for more social and affordable housing so that everyone in the city has the option."

There is no suggestion that Councillor Dennett has done anything illegal but residents are entitled to ask about moral and ethical issues connected with the mayoral nomination.

Councillor Dennett's slogan on his campaign website is `For a Better and Fairer Salford'...

at 12:18:23 PM on Monday, December 11, 2017
Marc why is this a dumb question. What you miss is "this weeks Langworthy Labour candidate" also lives in one of these blocks having moved into Salford only a few years ago. Sound familiar?

Marc wrote
at 11:01:25 AM on Monday, December 11, 2017
Haha blatant attempt to bump this non story back up.

at 5:45:30 AM on Sunday, December 10, 2017
As Langworthy go to vote this week can we ask if Salford Star ever got an answer from the Labour former Langworthy local Councillor to this question?

Wong or White wrote
at 2:33:14 PM on Monday, October 3, 2016
Greetings "J" // "Mr. Hilton". You obviously very observant man. You say "Mayor Dennett did not jump housing queue as if you know this as a matter of fact. A great Chinese Proverb say "Man cannot know that", "which the Salford Star does not". A Great Chinese Proverb also say "Man that knows event", "arranged that event".

at 6:14:34 AM on Thursday, March 10, 2016
Stuart nice one. Did you see Manchester Evening News say Keepmoat firm has the contract to build the 400 new homes in Charlestown. 20% are social houses taking 8 years to complete. Means 80 new social homes over 8 years. Average of only 10 new social homes a year. If there are 13,080 on the housing waiting list how the hec did Labour top Councillor in salford get to top of salford housing list if 13,000 do not have a chance of getting an offer for 8 years. Then at 10 a year getting a home and means taking over a thousand years before they get to where their Councillor managed to go.

Stuart Cremins wrote
at 2:49:09 PM on Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Maybe the position of Mayor at £69,000 a year also comes with free social housing.

at 12:10:47 PM on Wednesday, February 10, 2016
LOL - is Cllr Dennett hiding tonite from his own lot after the rivers of mud splashed last week. If you can't stand the heat stay in your kitchen!

Labour Confused wrote
at 7:07:15 AM on Wednesday, February 10, 2016
We hear Paul Wilson and Roger Jones are attending a Labour members vote meeting wednesday 10th February from 7.30pm held at The Council Chamber, while Paul Dennett says due to his Councillor commitments in Langworthy he is unable to attend the vote meeting. WHY is the selection of Mayor less important? Will we get to hear why Councillor Ord did not make it through to the shortlist along with all the other stopped nominations? Will Labour come clean about Labour Councillor bullying claims in Salford?

Taking the P wrote
at 4:42:56 AM on Saturday, February 6, 2016
Can someone explain the housing waiting lists. I would like to get my hands on a Council dilapidated flat, but stay living in my lovely home while your Council regeneration money pay to upgrade the flat. A brand new bathroom, kitchen, windows, insulation, decor. If I then use the right to buy how long do I have to keep the council property before I can sell it on the housing shortage market for profit?

Dry Rot wrote
at 5:19:41 AM on Friday, February 5, 2016
Salford Council Housing Strategy gives the fact on Salford Homesearch. 6,406 people on Salford waiting list for a one bedroom in 2013. Does an Assistant Mayor taking home £23,450 a year, plus what they can earn in a real job, think priority to be at top of the list was justified. Plenty of nice flats on private let market within a £500 a weekly income range. http://tinyurl.com/ja82cao

J wrote
at 10:52:31 PM on Thursday, February 4, 2016
The Salford Home Search priority goes by banding. If he registered while "sofa surfing" (non-priority homeless), that would make him Band C, and he'd remain Band C for the next 12 months until he was contacted to see if his circumstances changed. We don't know the length of time between him registering and getting a flat but if it was a few months that's not really unusual for a band C. Single, healthy, age 25-60 people can get rehoused quicker because they don't need houses (as opposed to flats), bungalows, ground floor, multiple bedrooms, or accommodation which allows under 25s or anything. He didn't jump the queue ahead of statutorily homeless applicants (Band B) because it's kind of a different queue. http://tinyurl.com/h98eouf

Labour Focus wrote
at 3:15:38 PM on Thursday, February 4, 2016
the comments remind me of 2 jags Prescott. Why does anyone want 2 places in Salford. What was a rented bed sit used for if he already has a Council flat?

shocked wrote
at 12:24:52 PM on Thursday, February 4, 2016
@earlyaprilfool Fool being the operative word here. Please READ SLOWLY what I said and allow it time to sink in, but thank you for the advice on ASA, I will now certainly send them in the right direction so they can investigate INDIVIDUALS too. And as for the Salford Star giving up peoples email addresses, only a novice would do that without a court order, as any media outlet or reporter knows that if they gave away peoples details without such an order, no one would ever trust that they can post with anonymity, so would never use them again. In my opinion I have said nothing that is illegal, or libellous, and I am sure if Mr Felse has nothing to hide, then he would welcome an investigation by the Salford Star, by the MEN and by ASA. Politics is such a hard line of work, I wonder why people put themselves through a life in the spotlight! And by the way, who said I was Labour? I am what one would call a floating voter, and the Tory candidate gets my vote for Mayor...as they look after their own, so we may not see as many cuts with a Tory Mayor!

Early April Fool wrote
at 9:51:43 AM on Thursday, February 4, 2016
What a stupid Labour lot we see in @Shocked, First accuses Mr Felse. Now confirms no wrong by Mr Felse and instead says a swim club had problems. It must be the right of the swim club to call in its Sport Lead Body A.S.A. to investigate email Shocked we can see as a venomous headless viper. The ASA will have the right to get Salford Star to cough up true email identity of @Shocked to expose the political lies being made by that gutter accusing blogger.

shocked wrote
at 8:33:20 AM on Thursday, February 4, 2016
@michaelfelsefreeinsalford (which in itself is a joke). I have no complaint about those who put themselves in the public eye, indeed for such a high office, to be scrutinised. You have also put yourself into such a position, so I think it is only fair that you are put under scrutiny too. I am not saying that the current swimming club committee has done anything untoward, but if Salford Star do some digging about previous committee members, that may be another story. Be quick before the MEN pick it up! Labour party troll?? No, someone who doesn't like people in glass houses throwing stones...

Daily Male wrote
at 8:33:13 AM on Thursday, February 4, 2016
Eric Asher is right. The Sun and Daily Mail need this story on Bed Sits, Council house quews and Labour HQ selection. I will ring their editors today. Wonder if other skelitans are in their Labour Party cupboard.

Mad Hatters Tea Party wrote
at 6:58:41 AM on Thursday, February 4, 2016
This one act of grabbing a Council Flat can hand the £70k Mayor job over to Wilson. Own Goal Dennet should play for Unt!

Salford Born wrote
at 6:58:28 AM on Thursday, February 4, 2016
It is well known in Councillor circles that up until now Dennett has been living in a bedsit house on Scovell owned by two of his Labour Councillor Colleagues and paying them rent!

Sharon Hooley wrote
at 4:21:06 AM on Thursday, February 4, 2016
Firstly, if any of you were in a queue that was, say, 100 people long. You are about 80 ish in the queue. Some person pushes in front of you. You're telling me that would be OK with you? No! I don't think so. So why is it any different for a 'Favouritied Candidate '? Always one rule for one and another rule for the rest. The more these 'push Ins' and 'Favoritism' is exposed maybe those in any authority will start to think more morally about others than themselves. Well done Salford Star xxx

Eric Archer wrote
at 5:19:34 PM on Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Salford Star, who are you trying to kid? With a headline "Salford Mayor Candidate Paul Dennett in Social Housing Controversy" and "Did Labour Party Mayor Candidate Favourite Jump The Housing Queue?" Your objectives are quite clear - mud slinging! Get out of the gutter. Your article is more reminiscent of something out of the Sun or DailyMail

Salford Star wrote
at 12:57:40 PM on Wednesday, February 3, 2016
See shocked and Eric Archer's comments below... As you will know if you read the article properly it has nothing to do with a councillor actually getting a council property, it's about the other stuff around that.

Michael Felse Free in Salford wrote
at 12:53:40 PM on Wednesday, February 3, 2016
@Shocked is 100% wrong. In my voluntary role as The Welfare Officer safeguarding children and vulnerable adults I have always admired the audited Treasurers accounts. The swimming club is second to none in accountabiliy, honesty and valued across the wider community. Attacking the Swim Club can only tell us The Labour Party phantom troll writer already smells defeat.

Eric Archer wrote
at 12:53:18 PM on Wednesday, February 3, 2016
"There is no suggestion that Councillor Dennett has done anything illegal" says the Salford Star. So why the long article full of hints and innuendo? I seem to recall that it used to be normal for people in work to live in Council Housing. That was before thatcher brought in the so called "right to buy". More like get working people up to their neck in debt paying off mortgages or in the clutches of rogue landlords. This articles stinks of the attacks the tories made on the late, great, trade union leader Bob Crow for living in a council house. Salford Star, you should be ashamed of yourself for sinking into the gutter of tory politics

Shocked wrote
at 7:54:16 AM on Wednesday, February 3, 2016
White single male gets council flat shocker! Hahaha! What an absolute non-story! Another shocker, family members of the mayor also live in council houses! Wow! My mum has lived in a council house all her life, as did her mum, my aunty lives in her own 6 bed detached house that she owns...so what, its no-ones business. Does the owner of Salford Star live in a council house? Who cares, its non of our business!! And for those who like to give their own sob stories, I have been disabled since 16, for over 20 years, after a car accident (that I got zero compensation for), plus had medicated depression for just as long. I have lived in 2 council flats, one I was robbed by neighbours a few times, but moved when they eventually got brazen enough to kick my door in when I was in. The next one I had neighbours who liked to go through all my mail. I was on more than Mr Dennetts salary of £23k, (yes I worked even as a disabled person, and claimed NOTHING from the state) but I couldn't afford to live on my own in a private flat, nor afford to buy, so I stayed with friends on their sofa, until I found a share with 2 other people. What does this have to do with anyone? Nothing! The Salford Star saying hes isn't accusing Mr Dennet of any wrongdoing, so why run a story like this other than as part of a smear campaign? As for Michael Felse Free in Salford, I wouldn't trust you to run a swimming club! Oh wait, you did! Mind telling us what happened to the £40k that the swimming club got in grants that went missing? Maybe that's something the Salford Star could find out? Free Mayor my backside! I think people need to start picking on the real enemies of the common people....I wont say working people because quite a few of the people on here don't work....I don't complain that I pay 19% of my total salary in taxes to fund said people, but hey, I am a nice person. Need to stop typing now, as my disability has kicked in and I need to medicate.

Michael Felse Free in Salford wrote
at 7:52:20 AM on Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Joe Oneill again makes excellent points. However, I feel The Labour is underestimating the power of this Salford Star forum. It enables we determined to change Salford for a better future to consider strategy. Imagine a year if UKiP, Green Party and Conservative Group takes up a different approach by channeling all their 2016 election money into fighting the ward seats, bringing a wider mix of Councillors. Then the Mayoral one to one in head to head with Labour's pick means 2016 fighting on business skills to deliver a real change Salford needs. Let us do it to see off those we deeply fear would simply deliver more of the same.

joe oneill wrote
at 3:00:11 AM on Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Whoever gets to be the official Labour Party candidate is almost guaranteed to win the election for City Mayor in May, fair comment from Steve if this was the first time round voters where asked their views on who they would vote for. But the big question today is are people prepared to vote for four more years of the same. Stewart has been a disaster his promises of openness and working for the people were what in reality most of us expected hot air and bluster. Labour have done what Labour do best feather their own nest with jobs for the boys and who can grab the most allowances the Stars story only highlights Labour, Shame bigger rags than the star don't pickup on these gems then and only then the masses may awake from their apathetic slumber. Salford needs change sooner the better.

Michael Felse Free is Salford wrote
at 2:13:01 AM on Wednesday, February 3, 2016
I am enlightened by the friendly thank you from UKiP leader Nigel this week to me in my support of getting the UK out of Europe. It is hoped the Mayor campaign can bring important matters to the front of the campaign to stop the Labour Party mass dominance. I fear for more than Salford as their national leadership moved us into the dangerous tumor like party policy of past errors. On the localised Councillor issue I will welcome every chance to allow space in the campaign for any potential candidate to explain their full answer to any Salford voter's challenging questions.

Sharon Hooley wrote
at 11:20:09 PM on Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Councillor Dennett and those who agreed to give a 'comfortable set up' to one of their own should be so ashamed of themselves. As a physically disabled person (who also suffers from dyslexia and depression), I see so much suffering made by 'RED TAPE'. The homeless and the mentally ill are not looked after properly and the attitudes of the people who are supposed to help in the benefit system doesn't in any way or form meet up to human rights standards. (Just read the papers ...it's all there). So when I read this kind of 'Favouritism' over moral judgements it makes me sick to the core that people even more less fortunate than myself have had to jump back another step in the housing process. I've been on the list for approx. 4-5 years and still haven't got a place that is suitable for my needs, even though I'm on the highest possible level for acceptance. Work that one out.

Prisoner Irlam wrote
at 11:19:21 PM on Tuesday, February 2, 2016
One rule for one , and another set for the masses it would be interesting to hear Mayor Lancasters take on this , just throwing it out there

Question Time wrote
at 11:19:13 PM on Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Councillor got his council flat last summer. Is it the same man as working on Staff at Manchester MMU. Presumable paid. Why was needing Social Housing? http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Paul-Dennett/1423374499 http://www.business.mmu.ac.uk/staff/staffdetails.php?uref=510

Tricky Dicky wrote
at 11:19:07 PM on Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Was in shared accommodation. That is not homelessness and not a priority group. Publish his application form for the council flat let us see the facts. What was his income at the time. Where did his parents live that could give him room. All are reasons for an investigation. I would rather have one of those sleeping on our streets today as our Mayor if this guy is not able to give the full account. Labour Party is a big joke and thinks Salford voters are stupid.

Ex Labour Voter wrote
at 11:18:27 PM on Tuesday, February 2, 2016
This man must apologies. Did he not read the Labour nomination paper demanding entrants to sign they do not have any facts what can embarrass Labour. It is clear if Labour wants any voter trust it must expel this man from the Mayor process or risk backlash.

Michael Felse Free in Salford wrote
at 11:18:01 PM on Tuesday, February 2, 2016
I ask local Conservative and UKiP Parties to stand aside this year and let my "Free Mayor for Salford" pledge take out the Labour Party tumor. It will give Salford a Conservative Deputy Mayor and an inclusive Cabinet including from co-opted groups. My call comes with personal pledge to have questionable actions of any elected member fully investigated. And sell off all the expensive pet projects, raising £7million for Salford flood defenses plus big list of improvements.

Mark Preston wrote
at 11:17:03 PM on Tuesday, February 2, 2016
If has got the flat, I doubt a mate of Ian Stewart will get illegally evicted or illegally charged for council tax he dosn't owe. Can't see the court making moves to get 'social cleanse' a friend of the council.

Joe blogs wrote
at 11:15:54 PM on Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Close family members of Ian Stewart have council flats too !

down but not out wrote
at 12:46:41 PM on Tuesday, February 2, 2016
I agree totally with all the people who have put comments on here. Sounds to me like out of the frying pan into the fire. It would be wonderful if many of the people who have been on the housing list can get a flat as quickly as this. The Council are not supposed to 'favour' any of their workers and housing are supposed to be the same, however it looks like this depends where you are on the ladder! I definately do not want another Mayor who just wants to make sure he's ok. This is wrong when so many people have been waiting a hell of a long time to be accomodated.

surprised.......not really wrote
at 12:46:37 PM on Tuesday, February 2, 2016
So while Dennet was sofa surfing (if you beleive him) for however long, that means he wasn't registered and paying council tax either. I have no doubt that he used just as many services ,if not more, than you and me. So basically he lived free of charge sponging off his beloved Salford residents and taking from the council he lives and breathes for. All that while still claiming his basic allowance PLUS expenses. I am led to beleive councillors are supplied with a landline, laptop and broadband so where was his supplied to while he sofa surfed?? I also wonder if he is upto with his council tax???? If he were an employee and he was in arrears he'd be on disciplinary!!!!!!!

Tahir Chakotai (Independent Housing Advocate) wrote
at 11:38:06 AM on Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Absolutely disgusting. In October of 2014, both Ian Stewart and Paul Dennett, were asked along with the Labour Party, to support and abolish the inappropriate age banding of properties which currently stops the mentally and physically disabled, who are under 55, moving to appropriate housing, that suits their disabilities, and not their age. I know this, as I featured in the Salford Star article dated October 15th 2014. I still reside on the top floor of a tower block, with a limited and unreliable lift service. I have severe "Mental and Physical Disabilities, and when my health allows, I fight and challenge disability discrimination, however Paul Dennett refuses to tackle any housing issues, unless it concerns his housing requirements. So Paul Dennett wants to become the future Mayor of Salford. Well maybe he should grow a pair, and instead of bending housing legislation for his own ends, he needs to sort out the diabolical, nonsensical housing policies that currently exist in Salford, that punish the weak, vulnerable, disabled, and destitute.

David cameron wrote
at 11:36:16 AM on Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Salford star might not say something dodgy has gone on in this story, but the people when hearing of this will. Being best mates with Ian stewart tells you all you need to know about this story, just a change of dictator really. All the candidates outside the Labour Party need to get their arse's in gear and start telling the people what is really going on in salford, don't send leaflets around houses with the candidate standing next to a pot hole, saying we'll fix it, no you have to go for the throat, you have to tell people about the millions spent on rugby stadiums, RHS gardens, fountains, peel holdings, BBC orchestra's and whilst paying for the above with our tax money closing down transport for the disabled and other services. So don't send leaflets with photo's, tell the people how their tax money is being spent on millionaires and multi billion pound companies, anything else is just a waste of ink.

blah blah blah wrote
at 10:34:27 AM on Tuesday, February 2, 2016
On his total wage of £47,000 he needs to buy his own house/flat and leave social housing so that someone more in need can live there. Now thats someone who cares!!

joe oneill wrote
at 10:27:04 AM on Tuesday, February 2, 2016
So what is the criteria to get a flat these days? White, Single , Well paid allowance? or the fact you are a Labour councillor!!would love to see a response from the committee that past this application.

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