More than 250 delegates from 45 areas signed up to a new Manifesto for Council Housing at Defend Council Housing’s annual conference in London last week.
Austin Mitchell MP demanded that the government release its detailed council housing finance reform proposals without further delay.
“The government says it has housing at its heart,” he said, “but it needs a heart transplant, to move the heart nearer to the brain.”
Jack Dromey of the Unite union backed the manifesto by calling for a mass programme of council house building.
He said, “The best way to build our way out of recession is to build council houses.”
Frank Dobson MP attacked housing associations and councils who sell off housing.
He says Camden council is now auctioning off homes he bought up when he was council leader.
Alan Rickman, a tenant from Winchester, told the conference, “Now is not the time to let this government or any future government off the hook on council housing.”
Linda McNeil, chair of Leeds Tenants Federation, added, “We mustn’t tolerate any watering down of our security of tenure, nor stand idly by and watch our homes demolished in the name of regeneration.”
Noting the conference’s success, campaign chair Eileen Short said, “Support for council housing is growing and broadening, as the conference showed.
“We have forced the government to shift policy.
“Now we will step up the campaigns against privatisation and demand that any politician who wants our votes pledges in writing their support for our manifesto.”