Anger in Labour Party at sell offs
Privatising housing is causing great political upheaval, even when the ballot goes the government’s way.
Andy Birchall, a Labour councillor in Chorley, Lancashire, says, “I was the only councillor that campaigned with the trades council in opposition to the privatisation of public housing.
“The campaign the council ran in conjunction with the independent adviser was disgraceful and misleading.
“I fundamentally agree with public ownership, and it is the policy of my union the T&G - who sponsored my election - to defend council housing.
“The tenants voted in favour of transfer on a 69 percent turnout by 62 percent for transfer and 36 percent against. But if you include those that didn’t turn out, only 43 percent - a minority - voted for.
“Many in my local branch have resigned from the party over this issue, and I am not standing as a councillor for the Labour Party next May because of this and the privatisation programme of this government.
“It’s OK saying fight from within, but I have lost sleep over this issue and over the way the Labour group forced me many times to ditch my beliefs and betray my conscience.
“I will never forget the situation these disastrous policies put me in.”
Some 44 areas are being lined up for stock transfer ballots.
They are: Berwick-upon-Tweed, Blaby, Braintree, Brighton & Hove, Castle Morpeth, Castle Point, Chester-le-Street, Crawley, Daventry, Fenland, Gedling, Gravesham, Harborough, Lambeth, Lewisham, Tower Hamlets, Liverpool, Manchester, Mole Valley, North Shropshire, North West Leicestershire, Oswestry, Plymouth, Rochford, Salford, Salisbury, South Kesteven, South Northamptonshire, Tamworth, Taunton Deane, Three Rivers, Torridge, Wansbeck, Watford, Highland, Inverclyde, Renfrewshire, Stirling, Monmouthshire, Newport, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Swansea and Torfaen.
Putting the case
Defend Council Housing has produced a new 98 page pamphlet, The Case for Council Housing in 21st Century Britain, bringing together 31 articles from leading tenant activists, MPs, trade unionists, councillors and academics.
Organisations can bulk order copies for £2.50 each to distribute to tenants reps, councillors and trade unionists in your area. Go to www.defendcouncilhousing.org.uk