Socialist Worker

Any choice, as long as it's privatisation

Issue No. 1908

NOWHERE IS New Labour’s hypocrisy over “choice” in public services clearer than over housing.

It has so far refused to allow council tenants to choose to stick with their local authority rather than opt for one or other privatisation scheme.

The launch on Tuesday of a report by the group of MPs who are allied to the campaign to defend council housing highlighted the pressure the government is now under to change that policy.

But government minister Nick Raynsford was quoted only last week in the Financial Times as saying:

“Frankly if some people for political motives don’t want to consider any option other than the retention of traditional

municipal housing, that really isn’t an intelligent choice—that’s trying to resist change.”

But the Council Housing Group of MPs’ report, compiled with the help of campaigners, concludes, “If money is available, why not use it to invest in council housing which is what we all need, what tenants want, what trade unions are demanding and growing numbers of councillors and MPs understand is necessary?”

One of the group of MPs, Labour’s Austin Mitchell, was due to trigger a debate on council housing in parliament on Wednesday of this week.

nDefend Council Housing— go to www.defendcouncil or phone 020 7987 9989.

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Sat 3 Jul 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1908
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