Call to ditch housing stock transfer plan

PUBLISHED: 09:20 26 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:58 11 May 2010

A CAMPAIGN group is urging South Cambridgeshire District Council to ditch its plans to transfer council housing stock to a private company. South Cambs Against Transfer (SCAT) have made their call following proposals announced by housing minister Margaret

A CAMPAIGN group is urging South Cambridgeshire District Council to ditch its plans to transfer council housing stock to a private company.

South Cambs Against Transfer (SCAT) have made their call following proposals announced by housing minister Margaret Beckett that councils should be allowed to keep all income stemming from council houses.

It is hoped that this will encourage councils to build more council housing.

Dave Kelleway, Chairman of SCAT, said: "There are literally thousands of people in south Cambridgeshire who are desperate for council housing, which provides more secure tenancies and lower rents than housing associations, as well as being accountable to the public.

"It would be totally irresponsible to sell off all our housing stock now, and the management expertise and staff with it, as clearly these will be needed when we can start building new council housing," he said.

The district council are proposing to ballot tenants on whether to transfer housing stock to a newly formed, not for profit, housing association, called South Cambridgeshire Village Homes.

A date for the ballot has yet to be agreed, although it is expect to take place this spring.

Mr Kellaway, who has been a council tenant for 30 years, said he believes this move by the government is a "good sign" ahead of a more fundamental review of housing which will be published later this year.

He said: "Given the major changes happening to government policy, if the council votes to press on with their privatisation plans regardless next week, it will show that they are trying to rush it through to abolish council housing for purely political reasons.

"Now is the time for the council to step back from the brink, and join with tenants to start rebuilding a first class council housing stock fit for our future generations.

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