LABOUR'S opposition leader in Dudley has called on the leader of Dudley Council to resign over political scandals in the Black Country borough.

Councillor Zada, leader of Dudley Labour group, spoke to the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) after Dudley Council made a self-referral to the regulator for social housing as council officers discovered there is no complete record of safety checks within the borough’s housing stock – estimated to be 21,500.

Senior officers have revealed this week that they cannot confirm whether each property has a complete record.

Council homes in Dudley, therefore, may not have certificates that demonstrate gas appliances are safe.

Dudley Council, according to councillor Zada, say they are committed to carrying out a full condition survey of each of its 21,500 properties over the next year to shed light on any problems.

Cllr Zada, has also called for councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, to resign after a leaked report this week showed £400,000 of taxpayers’ money may have been lost to fund a trip to a global property conference.

Speaking to the LDRS, cllr Zada suggested the unfunded overspend for MIPM – a property conference held in Cannes, France – was the “last straw in history of incompetence and complacency” from the ruling Conservative group.

He said: “I am now at the point where I genuinely believe the incompetence demonstrated by the leader of the council poses a risk to residents.

“Over recent weeks we have had Ofsted tell us children’s services is a worry, the scandal of MIPIM, collapsed regeneration projects with millions above planned budgets which has led to projects stalled and now thousands of council tenants unsure whether their gas and electricity is safe.

“What more will it take for the Conservative leader to recognise he’s not fit for this job – even his own Conservative councillors have tried to oust him?”

Councillor Adam Aston, shadow cabinet member for housing added: “I am seeking urgent assurance that Dudley’s council tenants are safe in their homes, I am particularly concerned to hear that the data quality regarding gas safety inspections are not up to scratch. This is basic stuff and damages the council’s reputation as a good social landlord”.

But Councillor Harley hit back at Labour, and claimed councillor Zada has “inadequate leadership qualities”.

“He’s never in Dudley and is invisible to the majority of the Dudley labour group,” he added.

Cllr Harley said the issue of gas safety checks was discovered due to Conservative efforts to fix the problem – and that Labour were in office as the scandal was brewing.

“Why he should call for the people who uncovered this to resign shows his dishonesty and immaturity as a senior councillor? He was council leader while this was going on, as was his predecessors councillors Lowe and Sparks.

“This is every much a Labour scandal unearthed by a Conservative administration.”

Councillor Laura Taylor-Childs, Dudley Council's cabinet member for housing and community services, said councillor Zada was “more interested in playing politics”.

She said the previous Labour administration in Dudley council did not have accurate safety data for tenants.

She said: “Successive Labour cabinet members allowed the inaccuracies to go on for so long, that it has taken an exceptional amount of work to unearth the true nature of the issue.

“Since I became cabinet member I have been digging into the data held by the housing department and was shocked to discover that the previous administration hadn’t even attempted to ensure that the data was accurate. We acted immediately to begin works to ensure our tenants are safe.

“Due to the perseverance of current officers and myself, we can now comfortably say that this work will make our tenants safer than they have been for a decade, and certainly safer than they ever were under a Labour administration.”