CAMPAIGNERS to defend council housing will be in Manchester this weekend to coincide with the Labour Party local government conference. The Defend Council Housing campaign organisation and the Council Housing group of MPs are holding sessions to collect evidence in favour of what has been dubbed 'the fourth option-direct investment in council housing'.
The government says councils only have three choices to secure investment to repair and refurbish their homes. All involve privatisation. Tenants have rejected privatisation in a series of ballots. The most recent came in Camden, north London.
The government had pledged £283 million to Camden if the privatisation went ahead. A united campaign of tenants, trade unions, the local council and local MP Frank Dobson is now demanding the money be given to the council for direct investment in housing.
Labour MP Austin Mitchell, chair of the Council Housing group of MPs, has written to every council asking for evidence of support for the 'fourth option'. Austin Mitchell spoke at a successful 75-strong tenants' meeting in Tower Hamlets in east London last week. He backed the campaign against the Labour council's plan to push ahead with a series of ballots on privatising the borough's council homes.
Evidence for the 'fourth option', 11.30am-1.30pm and 5pm-7pm, Saturday 13 March, Friends Meeting House, Mount Street, Manchester. For more information go to www.defendcouncilhousing.org.uk