TWO OF New Labour's flagship council home privatisation schemes were suddenly rescued last week when extra money appeared to ensure the sell-offs went ahead. The plans to hand all council homes in Glasgow and Birmingham to private housing companies are the two biggest in the country.
If they were abandoned it would blow a hole in the government's plans to privatise all the remaining 3.2 million council homes in Britain. Last week the tenants' ballot planned in Glasgow for November on the scheme was due to be postponed after a hole appeared in the 'business plan' for the sell-off.
Within hours the Scottish Executive stepped in, pledging some £415 million extra cash so the ballot could go ahead. In Birmingham too last week the planned privatisation was in trouble, thanks to financial holes.
Overnight there was a tenfold increase in the valuation put on the city's council homes to balance the books and keep the sell-off on track. The moves show how determined New Labour is to continue its privatisation of council homes.