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From The Socialist newspaper, 29 March 2007

Swansea

Tenants defeat housing sell-off

'DEFEND COUNCIL Housing' (DCH) campaigners in Swansea are celebrating the defeat of the council's attempt to privatise its housing stock. Almost three in four of the 13,000 tenants who voted rejected the council's plans.

Rob Williams Swansea Defend Council Housing and Socialist Party

A protracted campaign lasting a year, fought the Liberal-led coalition's attempt to transfer the housing stock to a 'community mutual', Tawe Housing. The council insisted this was a 'not for profit' body but tenants knew it was the thin end of the wedge to end public housing in Swansea and open the door to the private sector.

Council housing is one of the jewels in working-class gains in Britain, particularly as many are priced out of the housing market. Victory for the council would have turned the clock back to less secure tenancies and higher rents.

The council, echoing the New Labour Westminster parliament and Welsh Assembly policy spent at least 1.4 million on their campaign. But last summer a united DCH campaign undermined the council's arguments in a series of public meetings throughout Swansea's estates.

Public sector unions locally, especially UNISON, funded the sending of letters to every tenant's house and a big advert in the local paper calling for a 'No' vote. It shows the effect the trade union movement can have when mobilised.

However, the big unions still give funds to New Labour, despite its policies of attacking union members. Housing workers would have followed the housing into the private sector.

It was the previous Labour controlled council that first floated the plan for a housing transfer. The need for a new mass workers' party is again posed by this struggle.

Now we have to fight for the fourth option - real public investment in council housing. Swansea council claim that it can only raise 176 million of the 371 million needed to repair the stock but the government were willing to make funds available if the transfer went through.

New Labour are prepared to bribe the privateers.

The needs of council tenants, now and in future, must come first. The investment gap must be fought for through a mass campaign of council tenants, council workers and the wider working class.

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In The Socialist 29 March 2007:

Council workers fight pay cut scandal

The 'Single Status' scandal

Council unions reject 2% pay offer

Fighting cuts and privatisation

Stop council's sell-off plans


Socialist Party NHS campaign

PUSH for mass demo


What we think

A simple conclusion from a 'simplification' budget


Socialist Party news and analysis

Tenants defeat housing sell-off

Universities fail to accept state school pupils

Suffolk: Save our schools

London Olympics: Big business bonanza - and we pay

Fast News


Socialist Party election campaign

For the millions, not the millionaires


Socialist Party feature

Hands off our postal service!

Edinburgh postal workers fight back

Workers' fightback to defend postal services


Northern Ireland agreement

Will the new agreement last?

We Won't Pay anti-water charges demo 31 March


International socialist news and analysis

Italy: What future for Prc?

Turkish state attacks Kurdish protestors


Socialist Party workplace news

Airbus walkout - joint action needed across Europe

Reject regional pay

Determined campaigners win reprieve

Manchester Unity Stewards and activists group

Hants library workers fight cuts

Sacked electricians win tribunal ruling

Ealing workers fight pay cuts


 

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