tenants in Stirling voted by a resounding 68%
against privatising the housing stock in a magnificent victory to keep council
housing out of the hands of profiteers. As this report is compiled,
Renfrewshire tenants have also voted "NO". These results follow the
successful Edinburgh Against Stock Transfer campaign in which Socialist Appeal
supporters were heavily involved. Council tenants across the country are
sending a strong message to local authorities and the Scottish Executive – NO
TO THE PRIVATISATION OF COUNCIL HOUSING!.
Stirling Against Stock Transfer and the Edinburgh
campaign successfully exposed the lie that privatisation is the way forward.
Tenants are able to see through this sham and need look no further than the
2003 Glasgow City Council sell-off of their public housing to the private
sector in the guise of Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) for the harsh reality
of this policy. The Stirling victory was all
the more stunning when one considers the Scottish Executive spent £361 million
in public money in an attempt to force the plan through. In Glasgow's
case, the Westminster
and Holyrood parliaments wrote-off the city's housing debts of millions of
pounds – yet rents have rocketed while services have been cut to the bone. If
the government can write-off local authority debts in favour of the private
sector then they must be forced to do the same for council's allowing them to
use the money to modernise and build quality housing in the public sector.
One of the
most appealing points made by GHA 3 years ago, was that they would implement a
Secondary Stock Transfer so that housing was under control of local people and
communally owned. Now GHA say they are merely "committed" to such a
plan at some vague time in the future. They also claim they would need
"several more millions" to see it through and
"miscalculated" their figures of 3 years ago. Amazingly, GHA is
outwith the legislation of Freedom of Information, so no-one, not even the
Scottish Executive, can find out how they are spending tenants and taxpayers
money. Audit Scotland have now confirmed what many of us predicted, GHA is more
expensive than it said it would be, draining public funds while rents go
through the roof.
at this year's Labour Party conference, delegates voted to provide extra
funding for councils to modernise existing stock and finance new-builds. This
is the 3rd year in a row this policy has been passed. Yet the Scottish
Executive and local councils are determined to press ahead with this disastrous
strategy. Tenants clearly think, rightly, it is of no value and not in
their best interests. Councils must now demand that the housing debts must be
written-off to ensure a level playing field with the private sector.
TO THE SELL-OFF OF COUNCIL HOUSES!
TO RENT INCREASES IN FAVOUR OF THE PROFITEERS AND PARASITES!
PUBLIC HOUSING PUBLIC!
DECENT, AFFORDABLE COUNCIL HOUSING!