'Fourth Option' - investment to improve existing and build a new generation of first class council housing
Winning the argument for investment in council housing
- come to Parliament on 25 February
The announcement on council house building last week by Margaret Beckett is clearly politically significant. We've come a long way from 2000 when politicians and pundits predicted the 'End of council housing'. But how do we make sure 2009 is A year to remember for council housing?
The outcome will depend on how much Social Housing Grant is made available, whether councils can borrow prudentially against rental income and winning a settlement from the Review of Council Housing Finance with funding from the Comprehensive Spending Review negotiations this summer.
The call for evidence by the House of Commons Council Housing Group and their inquiry session at Parliament on 25 February provides an important opportunity for supporters of council housing to make the case and press home our demands.
Encourage your local authority, tenants groups and trade unions to submit evidence and organise a broad delegation to come to Parliament to support the inquiry. Email your MPs now to sign Early Day Motion 355 and meet you at Westminster on 25 Feb.
Sign up to DCH's 'Five demands for 2009'
'Sign up' online or download a 'sign up' sheet to help raise the profile of the campaign.
Review of Council Housing Finance: What we are demanding
As the Review of Council Housing Finance comes close to concluding we need to ensure a settlement that secures the future for first class council housing.
We haven’t fought this long and hard to be sold a pup! Ring-fencing all rents and receipts to council housing is a fundamental principle. The robbery has to end - and that should include the £1.1 billion a year siphoned off by the Treasury under the guise of ‘supporting historic debt’. '75 per cent of the capital receipt from any council home sold under the Right to Buy is currently pooled nationally to reflect the historic investment in council house building' (CLG press statement). But total receipts have already been more than four times historic debt. Government can't justify continuing the robbery from tenants rents every year!
There is growing opposition to proposals to break up the national Housing Revenue Account. This would undermine the sense of a national council housing sector and weaken the common interest between tenants across the UK which has helped us oppose privatisation, defend our ‘secure’ tenancies, oppose moves to market rents and campaign together to win additional resources.
‘Fully funding allowances at level of need within a ring-fenced national HRA’ would provide councils with the resources they need to manage, maintain, repair and improve council homes and estates. Elected councillors and tenants could then allocate these resources according to local priorities. It's the least risky solution!
Order new campaign newspaper to distribute in your area
Eight pages make the case for direct investment and calls on government to ring-fence the national HRA and fully fund allowances to councils at 'level of need'.
The first ALMOs proposing to stock transfer underlines the importance of re-uniting the "council housing family" across authorities directly managing their homes and those with ALMOs to secure direct investment for all council housing.
Distribute to tenants, trade unionists and councillors (£20 per 100 / £120 per 1000 copies).

For background information on the demand for the 'Fourth Option' for council housing and who supports the campaign see www.defendcouncilhousing.org.uk

Try the DCH 'HRA Ready Reckoner' to see what your authority would get if government fully funded allowances and call on your council to back the campaign's demands and submit evidence to the inquiry.

January newspaper

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