'THE GOVERNMENT is determinedly pushing the privatisation of 328,000 homes. It has assembled a taskforce to help overcome tenants' opposition. 'Arms Length Companies' are being reworked as an 'alternative' which in reality will neatly package our homes ready for a second wave of privatisation. The housing association lobby increasingly echoes the demands of the big lenders and bankers. 'Businesslike'' housing associations are failing to house the vulnerable and homeless. Paid board members will displace tenants, and encourage mergers and rationalisation. Housing association chief executives' salaries and payoffs soar into six figures. By introducing 'market forces' into council housing the government is determined to give private financiers and developers access to our homes and our rents. This is exactly the agenda that the World Bank's GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services) stipulates, and which is contested by millions of people around the world who want to keep private profit out of public services. We are facing not choice, but blackmail. We are given no alternative, offered no improvements, no investment, no hope, unless we accept privatisation. Tenants have had enough of this blackmail. We have launched the fight for OUR agenda-a future for council housing. We want direct investment without strings. We want the £19 billion needed to bring every council home up to scratch. We want secure, affordable, accountable housing as a real 'option' for everyone who needs a home. The 'Stand Up For Council Housing' day on 22 September will see a million leaflets going out on estates, meetings, lobbying, stalls, petitions, car cavalcades and more, in a national campaign demanding investment with no strings. In the process tenants' organisations are being revitalised and the best tradition of independent, positive campaigning restored. Join us!'
THIS STATEMENT SIGNED BYPat Maddocks (coordinator), John Davies (treasurer), Bob Steane (vice-chair), Peter Kain and Vi Bebb, Liverpool Tenants Federation; Val Imeson (secretary), Wakefield Tenants Federation; Anne Williams (coordinator), Gloucester Tenants Federation; Tommy Glynn (chair), Halton Tenants Federation; Barbara Maclure (chair), Wycombe Hands Off Our Homes; Piers Corbyn, Southwark Group of Tenants Organisations EC and Southwark Tenants Council; Dennis Rees (chair) and Bernard Harry, Derby Association of Customer Panels; Frank Chance (chair), Birmingham Defend Council Housing; Terry Edwards (secretary), Birmingham People's Alliance (residents' organisation); Alan Walter (chair), Peckwater estate TRA, Camden; Jill Iremonger and Mannan, Tower Hamlets tenants.