THE firm that repairs Brighton’s council houses may not have their contract renewed – despite warning that the move will end up costing taxpayers millions of pounds more.

The city council’s contract with Mears ends in 2020.

Now the council is looking at using its own staff to carry out the work in future, ending a ten-year deal with the company.

But Mears has warned this could be up to £6 million more expensive than the current deal.

The council’s housing committee is due to discuss the future of the services at a meeting on September 26.

Under the contract, which started in 2010, Mears has been responsible for looking after the city’s 11,550 council homes and 2,700 leasehold properties.

The council said all of its homes have been brought up to the government’s Decent Homes Standard under the contract, which has saved the council money.

A spokesman for Mears said the company was “pleased with the positive commentary about what has been achieved in the partnership between Mears and Brighton so far, including fundamental improvements to the quality of housing across the city”.

He continued: “We see many opportunities to continue our relationship with Brighton in the future in support of Brighton’s significant investment ambition.

“We also note that the alternative approach to the response repairs part of the contract may, in fact, be much more expensive than the service delivered by Mears, as much as over £6m more over the next 10 years, and am sure this will be taken into consideration during discussions at the housing meeting, given the wider pressures on the public purse.”

The committee’s chairwoman, Councillor Anne Meadows, said: “We’ve listened to what our residents want and our priority is to deliver a high-quality, responsive and value for money repairs, maintenance and improvement service.

“It is one of the most important services we deliver to our tenants and leaseholders, and we’ve done a lot of work investigating all the options to make sure we provide the best service we can.”

A report published this week recommends that an in-house team delivers responsive repairs and empty property refurbishment works to council housing.

It also suggests that more than one contractor be used for major capital projects, at least one contract to provide planned maintenance and improvement programmes is set up, specialist work such as lifts and adaptations are carried out through individual contracts, and customer service and quality assurance services are brought in-house.