Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/402/4576
Hands off our housing
AFTER MANY years of delays, obfuscations, U-turns and about-turns, Brighton and Hove council is finally going to decide on the future of council housing locally.
It had originally been the council's preference to set up an Arms Length Management Organisation (ALMO). This is a two-stage privatisation process where only the management of council homes is privatised initially.
It now looks more likely that the council is going to favour a full transfer of the housing stock to a housing association or other such private concern. In other places where this has happened tenancies are changed, rents raised and democratic accountability lost. This privatisation process is national government policy.
In Brighton & Hove, the Socialist Party has been working with the Defend Council Housing campaign to try and stop the council. During the general election Brighton Socialist Party led our campaign with the council housing issue, talking to hundreds of tenants and collecting hundreds of names on petitions protesting the council's plans.
On count night our candidate attempted to present the petition to the winning Labour candidate - Des Turner - who refused to accept them.
Our work during the election laid an excellent basis for building the campaign to save council housing in Brighton & Hove. We are doing stalls in the council estates and re-visiting tenants we discussed with during the election to mobilise people for a lobby of the council on 21 July when the decision is being taken.
We have seen massive opposition from tenants to any form of privatisation of their homes. On one stall, we had more people lining up to sign petitions and take leaflets than we could manage to talk to!
Demand "the fourth option" - continued public ownership and increased investment from central government to improve and expand council housing.
In The Socialist 21 July 2005: