Let us have facts on home transfer

PUBLISHED: 18:46 04 June 2008 | UPDATED: 15:47 11 May 2010

I AM concerned about the tactics being used by South Cambridgeshire District Council to convince tenants that it is in their best interests to vote to transfer their homes to a new housing association. The district council has so far spent in excess of £

I AM concerned about the tactics being used by South Cambridgeshire District Council to convince tenants that it is in their best interests to vote to transfer their homes to a new housing association.

The district council has so far spent in excess of £600,000 of council taxpayers' money on this process and the final cost could easily reach £1 million.

Despite the enormous sums being spent on so-called "independent" consultants and presenting the "facts", the district has only allowed a one-sided version of events to be put to tenants.

It has presented a completely misleading picture of the benefits of transfer to a housing association and the way housing association's operate and are managed.

Having worked for more than 20 years for both local and national housing associations the impression that tenants are being given that housing associations's have an unlimited pot of money available to provide tenants with new kitchens/bathrooms and sundry other improvements as well as being able to build countless new homes and the level of tenant involvement in their management is quite frankly untrue.

The financial climate for housing association's has never been harsher and the challenges for the future never more difficult.

Increasing numbers of

"local" housing associations are being forced into mergers or being taken over by larger national ones in order to survive.

Worse still major implications for tenants such as loss of security of tenure and far higher rents are glossed over or ignored.

Unfortunately, any concerns raised with councillors, officers or the "independent" consultants are met with disinterest or dismissed out of hand.

It is only two years since tenants voted by a huge majority against transfer. The district council seems to have graduated with honours from the Robert Mugabe school of democracy: if you don't get the result you want from a ballot then make the people vote again and keep on voting until you get the desired result.

In conclusion, I challenge the district council to allow a full debate on the issues by using some of the vast resources it is spending to enable those opposed to transfer to put the alternative arguments to tenants.

Tenants should also be made aware that if they vote for transfer there is no going back whereas if they vote against transfer and the council's dire predictions do seem to be coming true then they can vote for transfer at that point.

JOHN TAYLOR

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