With around three weeks to go until the ballot over housing transfer, Taunton tenants’ campaign is reaching its peak.
Taunton is a largely rural borough covering 178 square miles so it is hard to reach all tenants. We still have some way to go but the feedback we are getting from tenants so far is very encouraging.
Last Saturday we set up a stall in Wellington and in the course of a couple of hours collected 150 signatures on a petition against the sell-off.
All the tenants we met there were against the transfer.
In Taunton where we have held stalls, the few tenants we have met who have been in favour of the transfer have been so because they have a personal grudge against the council.
The promotional DVDs that the council sent out with the offer document have proved very unpopular and useless as a large number of tenants don’t even have DVD players.
As I’ve been leafleting I’ve also noticed many offer documents in recycling bins.
The pro-transfer float that the council had in Wellington carnival a couple of weeks ago caused outrage, not least because political entries are supposed to be barred from entering and we would not have been allowed to have one.
The news that Aldbourne Associates (our so-called independent tenant advisers) recently publicly admitted to misleading council tenants and leaseholders over VAT charges in Salisbury has dented what little confidence tenants had in them here.
In these final weeks before the ballot we will continue to have our stalls and will be delivering our new broadsheet to all 6,600 council homes in Taunton Deane, along with the latest national broadsheet.
I hope that, by showing people that we can stand up and fight for what we believe in, it’ll encourage others to start and get involved in campaigns to defend our health, education and social services.
Amicus @ctivist magazine has urged union members to get involved in upcoming local housing ballots.
Defend Council Housing has produced a new pamphlet. Organisations can bulk order copies for £2.50 each to distribute to tenants reps, councillors and trade unionists in your area. www.defendcouncilhousing.org.uk