TheJudge has done an excellent good job of analyzing the situation in Wrexham where the council are doing a very good job of shafting their council tenants to force through the privatisation of their homes. A situation that council tenants are facing across the country.
But it does not have to be so. Tenants across the country are saying no.
As ex-cabinet member Frank Dobson said at a recent Town Hall meeting in Camden to follow up the massive 77% NO vote to privatisation, neo-Labour's housing policy is in tatters.
So a few tips.
Look at what the tenants did in Camden. Get hold of all their publicity, and adopt it to suit the local situation. Look at their tips to running a campaign, and the eight points they put across to their tenants to get the massive NO vote.
Defend Council Housing produce loads of good material.
A report will shortly be published, if not already out, in the January-February 2004 issue of Corporate Watch newsletter, with a more detailed report on their website.
Unison can provide funding out of their political fund. Make sure the local branch applies. The Camden campaign could not have succeeded without Unison financial backing.
Faced with conflicting views, the tenants don't know who to believe. Therefore tell them what it's like for tenants who have already been privatized.
Council tenants in Rushmoor (Aldershot and Farnborough) were privatised a decade ago. If they knew then what they know now, there would have been a massive NO vote, instead of barely scraping through on 51% yes. They were shown the same films, made the same promises of new bathrooms, kitchens, tree-lined boulevards, the sun will always shine. The reality is yobs terrorising estates, homes in appalling state of repair, once the rent cap had been removed, rents shot up as did the evictions for those who could no longer afford to pay. Tenant activists have been intimidated and threatened with eviction.
In Wrexham, the tenants have been told the elderly will not get their gardens tended. Well they certainly don't once they are privatised.
TheJudge thinks the new housing association chief executive will be on £70,000. Think again. That's low.
Any tenant representatives on the new board, will legally be obliged to act for the company, not the tenants.
There is no accountability.
If an initial survey of the tenants says no, why hold a ballot? To do so would simply be to waste taxpayers money. If there is to be a ballot, both sides of the argument should be put across. Form a local branch of Defend Council Housing. Obtain finance from Unison.
The good news is, like Camden, tenants across the country are saying NO to privatisation of their homes.
Waverley is another council that is considering the options. Does anyone know what is happening in Waverley (Farnham and Godalming in Surrey south of London)?