'Fourth Option' - investment to improve existing and build a new generation of first class council housing
"Brown orders thousands of new council houses" (Times, 30 Jan 2009)
Gordon Brown announced last Thursday a significant change in government policy on council housing. Help keep up the momentum! See below for what you can do...
Today let me be clear: if local authorities can convince us that they can deliver quickly - and cost-effectively - more of the housing that Britain needs, and if local authorities can build social housing in sustainable communities that meets the aspirations of the British people in the 21st century, then we will be prepared to give them our full backing and put aside anything that stands in their way. (Gordon Brown, New Local Government Network, 29 Jan)
DCH welcomes Brown's commitment to council housing but warned against any proposals that would undermine or avoid providing new 'secure' council tenancies. A meeting on Wednesday with Housing Minister Margaret Beckett will hopefully clarify government's proposals.
What you can do...
Get tenants, trade unions and your council to send a delegation to Parliament on 25 Feb to support the Council Housing group's inquiry Encourage tenants organisations and your local authority to submit evidence to the inquiry and distribute the report when it is published Sign up to DCH's 'Five demands for 2009' online and download to take around where you live and work Ask your MP(s) to sign Early Day Motion 355 and join the Council Housing group at Parliament Affiliate, donate, distribute material and organise a public meeting in your area to support the campaign
Now is the time to press home the argument
Organise a broad delegation from your area to come to Parliament on 25 February to actively show support for the House of Commons Council Housing Group's inquiry (see invitation and questionnaire). Make sure tenants organisations and trade unions are represented and lobby your local authority to formally submit evidence and fund a delegation to take part.
Demand a moratorium on expensive stock options and further transfer ballots
Government's commitment to stop the robbery from tenants rents and 'right to buy' receipts for new council housing opens the door to finding a 'Fourth Option' settlement for 2.5 million tenants in existing council homes. There is no excuse for councils carrying out expensive stock options appraisals or balloting tenants on privatisation until the outcome of government's Review of Council Housing Finance is known.
Winning the argument on debt write off and fully funding allowances within a national HRA
Key is getting government to accept it has to provide a 'level playing field' and take over historic debt. Ending the robbery would provide resources to fully fund allowances for the management, maintenance, repair and improvement of council housing at 'level of need'.
Funding allowances within a nationally ring-fenced Housing Revenue Account is a less risky option than breaking up the HRA as some are proposing (read centre page spread in DCH newspaper).
Build a third generation of first class council housing
Council housing is the quickest and cheapest way to provide secure homes with low rents managed by an accountable landlord. The Local Housing Company public/private partnerships that government has been encouraging don't provide any council housing (the majority of homes are for sale and those for rent have 'assured' not 'secure' tenancies).
Public money and public land should not be diverted into unconditionally bailing out private banks, builders and landlords. Building a third generation of first class council homes avoids the risks of public/private partnerships and pouring good money after bad and is the surest way of providing the homes we need for the 21st century whilst safeguarding jobs in the building industry and giving a boost to the economy.
Further information from www.defendcouncilhousing.org.uk
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Use the DCH 'HRA Ready Reckoner'. See what your authority would get if government fully funded allowances.

January newspaper

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DCH Initial Submission to government's 'Review of Council Housing Finance