Ulla’s Amazing Wee Blog

December 15, 2005

Local News: Referendum on Council Housing Stock Transfer in Edinburgh ends today

Filed under: Writing — Ulla @ 10:48 am

Tenants of Edinburgh Council Houses will have made a decision today (Wednesday 14th of December) on the ownership transfer of their homes to the newly found City of Edinburgh Housing Association CEHA, Sian Roberts, spokesperson for Electoral Reform Services states.
The outcome of the ballot, participation and numbers will be passed on confidentially from the Electoral Reform Services to the council later this afternoon. The City of Edinburgh Council will publicise the outcome tomorrow as a press release on their website and inform the council tenants in writing, Jim (Surname withheld) from the Better Homes for Edinburgh info line said.
The tenants of the 23 000 council homes in Edinburgh had three weeks time to cast their vote, from Wednesday the 23rd of November till today, Wednesday, the 14th of December.

The decision is anticipated to end ferocious arguing of Tenants Groups supported by the trade unions such as Unison Scotland and the Britain-wide “Defend Council Housing� campaign, against the multi-million pounds expensive PR campaign “Better homes for Edinburgh�, funded by the Scottish Executive. The Tenant Information Service carried out and publicised its independent reviews and research.

The initiative to transfer the council’s housing stock came from the government’s policy to write of historic debts if council housing is privatised.
The City of Edinburgh accumulated £310 million pounds because of the building of council houses: “at the moment 40p of every pound of rent money is paying back the intrests on the loans taken out in the past� (DCH, our future leaflet),

Further, “this [the stock transfer] will unlock a £2 billion investment to make improvements to tenants’ homes, 10 000 extra new homes can be built and major regeneration can take place in key areas of the city.” (Better homes for Edinburgh, Pennywell newsletter)

Councillor Sheila Gilmore states:
“The transfer will bring the biggest amount of money for housing in Edinburgh since the first council homes were built in our city.� (letter 30.November)

However, according to Brian Dillon, a council house tenant, the investment of the £2 billions mentioned is build on creating massive debts:
“They are not telling us that £1.3 billion of that is loans from private banks who demand higher intrest rates – rates your rent money will have to pay for. “ (Unison Scotland, Defend Edinburgh’s Housing)

The promises of “lower rents, better homes, more homes, better neighbourhoods, keeping promisesâ€? as advertised by the Better homes for Edinburgh PR campaign has already been disputed by the Tenants Information Service revealing the budget for major promises, such as “safe and clean neighbourhoodsâ€? and for planned regeneration projects is not accounted for in CEHA’s business plan.

Campaigners countered the PR campaign by pointing out past experiences of stock transfers, such as in Glasgow, resulted in “higher rents and charges, less security, more evictions, no accountability, more homeless.�

If the council house tenants vote “yes�, the 23 000 council houses will be sold off to CEHA at a price each of £900, according to the North Edinburgh News, despite ex-council flats in Dumbiedykes, Holyrood, holding now a market value of £100000, as advertised in The Scotsman.

Bibliography

  1. Unison Scotland: “Defend Edinburgh’s Housingâ€?, leaflet
  2. Tenants Information Service; “Tenants News�, Issue One/October 2005, leaflet
  3. Tenants Information Service; “Tenants News�, Issue Two/October 2005, 8 Din A4 pages pamphlet
  4. Tenants Information Service; “Tenants News�, Issue Three/November 2005, 8 Din A4 pages pamphlet
  5. Defend Council Housing, “Hands off our homes�, Edinburgh Against Stock Transfer Campaign, leaflet
  6. Defend Council Housing, “our future – privatisation of the Health Service, schools, Water and now our homesâ€?, Stock Transfer Information Group
  7. Defend Council Housing, “If you don’t know, vote noâ€?, leaflet
  8. The City of Edinburgh Council, “Capital Tenant North�, Issue 3, Autumn 2005
  9. Better homes for Edinburgh, Issue 08, August 2005, “Taking to the road�
  10. Better homes for Edinburgh, Issue 09, September 2005, “Coming to a street near you�
  11. Better homes for Edinburgh, Issue 10, October 2005, “See how housing transfer could benefit you�

  12. Better homes for Edinburgh, Issue 11, November 2005, “It’s time to use your voteâ€?
  13. Better homes for Edinburgh, Pennywell Newsletter,
  14. Better homes for Edinburgh, “Demonstration Blocks�
  15. City of Edinburgh Council, letter from Councillor Sheila Gilmore, 17.11.2005
  16. City of Edinburgh Council, letter from Councillor Sheila Gilmore, 30.11.2005
  17. North Edinburgh News, November 2005, including
    • letter to the editor from Councillor Sheila Gilmore, Executive Member for Community Safety and Housing, “Councillor Gilmore urges you to voteâ€?,
    • letter to the editor from Mark Turley, Director of Housing, “Response to questions on housing transfer”
    • letter to the editor from tenant W. Sutherland, “All the Answersâ€?
    • letter to the editor from tenant T. Duff, “Something has to changeâ€?
    • letter to the editor from Louise Donnachie, Chair of WAGRAG, “Who’s listeningâ€?
    • article, page 16, “Stock Transfer battle nearing final roundâ€?
    • article, page 16, “Stock transfer and repairsâ€?, Jenni Marrow, Edinburgh Against Stock Transfer
  18. North Edinburgh News, December 2005, including
    • letter to the editor, kept anonymous, “Vote Yesâ€?
    • letter to the editor, Jeni Marrow (EA.S.T.) and Charlotte Fletcher (S.T.I.G.)
    • article, page 14, “Edinburgh’s tenants set to vote on housing transferâ€?
    • article, page 6, “Drylaw ‘no’ to more housing developmentâ€?
    • article, page 15, “Stock Transfer D Day Loomsâ€?
    • article, page 15, “Have-a-go hero faces evictionâ€?
  19. letter from Sian Roberts, Electoral Reform Services
  20. Defend Council Housing: “reasons to reject privatization�, autumn 2005

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