Supporters of council houses lobby Westminster

30 Jan 03
Council tenants, trade unionists and councillors descended on Westminster this week to increase pressure on ministers to give local authorities the same rights as housing associations.

31 January 2003

About 1,500 people attended the lobby of Parliament on January 29 - a week before Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott is due to unveil the government's Communities Plan.

The plan should make it clear whether councils that remain as landlords rather than transfer homes to a housing association will, in future, be able to borrow money on similar terms to a registered social landlord.

The lobby was organised by Defend Social Housing, which campaigns against stock transfers and is also opposed to arm's-length management organisations and the Private Finance Initiative.

Alan Walter, a spokesman for DCH, said: 'It's important that tenants… realise that it's possible to win direct investment in housing.'

Around 100 MPs have signed an early-day motion, put down by Labour's Austin Mitchell, calling for an end to 'government discrimination against council housing' and urging that all housing revenue account debt is written off.

Stock transfers have almost stopped while local authorities and other organisations await the Communities Plan. But the National Housing Federation, which represents RSLs, said this week it was vital that transfers of council homes continued.

Since 1988, transfers have led to more than £10.6bn being raised for regeneration. 'Stock transfer is a proven method of delivering better services to tenants and improving homes,' said an NHF spokesman.


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