Council tenants on the Langley estate in Middleton, Rochdale, are fighting against the transfer of their homes to fat cat landlords. Langley is a Manchester City Council overspill estate. The council is trying to con tenants to vote in the ballot to transfer to a housing association.
Riverside Housing Association is looking to take over the estate. This company has a turnover of £56 million and a chief executive on £110,000 a year. The city council has faced resistance initiated by the tenant activists in the Langley Action Group.
Tenants campaigned around the whole estate on Saturday, along with Manchester UNISON housing stewards in a double decker bus. Campaigners delivered 5,000 leaflets paid for by Manchester UNISON. The ballot vote will take place up to 7 December.
A victory against the transfer of council homes on the Langley estate will have an impact across the north west.
Harrogate council in Yorkshire called off its council house privatisation plans this week. But at the same time councils in Dudley, Knowsley, Manchester and Langley (see separate story) started their transfer ballots earlier than planned. The move to these ballots is an attempt to outmanoeuvre campaigners against council house privatisation.
Birmingham council, the biggest landlord in England, and a growing number of other councils, put privatisation plans on hold after the government eased off restrictions on councils borrowing. Local government secretary Stephen Byers' promise to allow councils new rights to borrow has undercut the financial arguments for housing privatisation.
The government could easily find the money to carry out the repairs and improvements that four million council tenants need. Money should be given directly to help councils repair, improve and build council homes.
The Defend Council Housing campaign is also calling on councillors to push to identify how much money Byers' new right to borrow could make available as an alternative to privatisation.
MARCH AND RALLY AGAINST PRIVATISATION Saturday 17 November, 12 noon, East Market Street, Edinburgh