Council tenants in Dudley were celebrating this week beating off their Labour council's attempt to privatise their homes. A ballot of tenants in the West Midlands council saw privatisation rejected by 56.2 percent to 43.8 percent, with 70 percent of all eligible tenants voting. This was despite the council's expensive glossy pro-privatisation campaign, and then springing the ballot on people at short notice.
The vote sinks the plan to hand 27,000 council homes to a private housing company. With limited resources tenants, backed by local trade unions, campaigned with leaflets through doors, and managed to tour the area in an anti-privatisation battlebus.
'People are ecstatic,' said campaign activist and UNISON member Tony Barnsley on Monday. 'But we will be organising to fight for the government funding council homes need.' Defend Council Housing national organiser Mark Weeks says, 'The Dudley vote is excellent. It is a message which tenants facing ballots next year in Crewe, Carlisle, Bradford, Birmingham and elsewhere need to take to heart.'
Defend Council Housing is holding a national conference in Birmingham in February aimed at building the fight against privatisation.
Contact Defend Council Housing, PO Box 33519, London E8 4XW. Phone 0207 987 9989. Email firstname.lastname@example.org