Council tenants in Winchester, southern England, are battling a major attack on council housing.
Their Tory-run council voted through a £3 million cut to the housing department’s repairs and renovations grant on Wednesday of last week.
Councillors also decided to impose a 6.14 percent rent rise from next April.
This will hit vulnerable council tenants. The plans mean that many people will not get modern kitchens, bathrooms or boilers.
Adaptations to housing for disabled tenants will also be hit. Redecorating work will be put on hold.
Many homes will sit empty as the “reinstatement of void properties” – renovating empty homes so that they are fit for people to live in – comes under pressure.
Tenants and Council Together (Tact), a group representing council tenants, has condemned the plans.
It points out that councils are required to give the government £8 million in rent each year – which has resulted in a surplus of £194 million for 2008.
They argue that this money should be spent on new council housing and improving existing stock.
Alan Rickman, the joint chair of Tact, told Socialist Worker, “Local tenants are very angry about the cuts and we’ve had a lot of good local press coverage.
“Tenants have the impression that the national press isn’t interested unless we’re rioting in the streets – but it may come to that!
“We’re planning to organise protests in the new year against the cuts.”