Socialist Worker

Haringey council running scared as tenants turn down private options

Issue No. 1910

HARINGEY COUNCIL in north London got a shock from the results of its roadshow to promote housing privatisation.

The Labour-run authority surveyed 868 residents and found that:

  • We want real investment in our homes.

  • Two thirds of us want to stay with the council.

  • Even people who have bought flats in council blocks are no keener than tenants on privatisation through Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMOs), stock transfer or the Private Finance Initiative (PFI).

    The council is now scared to let us vote on its sell-off plans. Looking at these figures, that’s no surprise.

    Haringey Defend Council Housing will be lobbying next Monday’s council meeting.

    The council leader has decided not to allow a delegation to address the meeting.

    No promise of a vote and no right to speak to our councillors—so much for New Labour’s democracy.

    In the last six weeks we have delivered 6,000 leaflets door to door in Haringey. Thanks are due to everyone who helped.

    On Saturday 24 July we will be resting the campaign just for one evening to make space for a social and fund-raising event.

    PAUL BURNHAM, Haringey Defend Council Housing

    National campaign

    DCH steps up pressure on Brown

    HOUSING campaigners stepped up the pressure last week with an open letter to Gordon Brown calling for direct investment in council housing.

    The letter, signed by union leaders, MPs, councillors and activists, called on the chancellor to support the “fourth option” of allowing tenants to remain with the council and have their homes improved.

    The government is currently insisting that tenants have to accept “stock transfer” to private landlords or housing associations if they want any government funding to improve their houses.

    But campaigners say that this attitude “does not make economic, social or political sense”.

    Council housing is cheaper to build and run, as well as being more accountable and secure.

    The letter was organised by Defend Council Housing, the grassroots tenants campaign that opposes stock transfers and privatisation.

    Signatories include Austin Mitchell MP and several union leaders, including Dave Prentis of Unison, Billy Hayes of the CWU and Bob Crow of the RMT.

    “The option of direct investment is vital to give tenants a real choice, instead of the bullying and blackmail going on up and down Britain now,” says Austin Mitchell.

    There are also concerns that much-needed housing funds are being raided to pay for expensive and unnecessary consultants.

    Defend Council Housing—go to or phone 020 7987 9989.

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    Article information

    Sat 17 Jul 2004, 00:00 BST
    Issue No. 1910
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