Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/486/2400
Salford: Tenants oppose stock transfer
LOCAL TENANTS recently called a Defend Council Housing (DCH) meeting in central Salford after Labour controlled Salford city council announced the next step in privatising the city's housing stock
Steven North Manchester Socialist Party
Salford's social housing is currently managed by New Prospect Housing Ltd, which recently lost its funding after being rated one of the worst Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMOs) in the country. Instead of bringing housing back under local authority control, the council is replacing New Prospect with a new ALMO, Salix Homes, without consulting with Salford tenants.
What is more, one of the city's most deprived areas, West Salford, will see its stock completely privatised. Residents in the area will be balloted, but as with other parts of the country, there will be no option to retain council housing with additional funding. This "Fourth Option" is what DCH campaigns for.
The well-attended meeting agreed to try and develop or regenerate tenants' associations in each area. A leaflet will also be distributed to tenants in West Salford asking them to vote "No" in the upcoming ballot.
As a UNISON member, I expressed concern that my union branch was not doing enough to highlight the problems that privatisation and further stock transfer could cause for local authority housing workers, many of whom are also tenants. My branch secretary considers that this is an issue purely for tenants. He also expresses "sympathy" with the local authority for being "compelled" to do this by national government.
This argument is ridiculous. Our council does not need to blindly follow government diktat, it would be better for Salford's residents if it were to take the example of Liverpool city council in the 1980s and stand up for its citizens. If they are not prepared to do this then the Labour councillors will have no room to complain when they lose their seats.
It is laudable that Salford tenants are fighting back against the privatisation of their homes. However, without an alternative at the ballot box proposing democratic public ownership of housing as well as extra investment, it won't matter who they vote for at elections.
DCH needs to concentrate less on appealing to "friendly" politicians and start building links with anti-privatisation campaigners in combating this government's neo-liberal agenda, both in Salford and nationwide.
A good start might be to attend the Campaign for a New Workers' Party conference on 12 May!
In The Socialist 10 May 2007:
Socialist Party election analysis
Campaign for a New Workers Party
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party election campaign
Socialist Party workplace news