'Fourth Option' - investment to improve existing and build a new generation of first class council housing
Pressure swings pendulum back to council housing
New DCH Briefing
DCH has produced a new Briefing 'Pressure swings pendulum back to council housing' that sums up latest developments from Labour's internal policy discussions and around the 'Review of Council Housing Finance'.

Please forward widely to help inform the debate and get your tenants organisation or trade union to bulk order copies of the new DCH eight page newspaper (£20 per 100 / £120 per 1000 copies) that will include fuller reports and develop all the arguments. Make sure that tenants, trade unionists, councillors and others in your area are informed and involved in the debate and help keep up the pressure on government to agree 'Fourth Option' demands.

Two important policy issues
The briefing opens up the debate on proposals for councils to take the risky step of breaking up the national Housing Revenue Account and plans to set up new 'Local Housing Company' public/private partnerships. Both formulas avoid government having to concede key 'Fourth Option' demands, presumably in the hope that they will diffuse and weaken the campaign ahead of debates at the Labour Party conference and recommendations from the 'Review of Council Housing Finance'.
Breaking up the national HRA leaves tenants exposed to business plans unravelling followed by inevitable proposals to stock transfer. It seeks to encourage tenants to blame other areas for 'negative subsidy' rather than put the focus on forcing government to stop the robbery and ring-fence tenants rents and receipts nationally to fully fund allowances (benefiting all tenants and avoiding the risks involved with councils 'going it alone').
The majority of homes built by Local Housing Companies on council land will be for sale and none will be council housing ('secure' tenancies, lower rents and an elected landlord tenants can hold to account). Public/private partnerships have proved risky and unreliable in other parts of the public sector and invariably don't deliver on initial promises. Building new first class council housing using Social Housing Grant makes more sense!

Demand moratorium on stock options, sales and transfer
We're getting more reports of authorities conducting new 'stock options appraisals'. Let DCH know what's happening in your area and make sure tenants and others read the DCH briefings on 'stock options' and 'stock transfer' (see right).
It appears that even authorities who are committed to keeping council housing are coming under pressure from their government Regional Office to 'look at all the options again'. In other areas it's an excuse by those who have always wanted to privatise to re-open the debate.
There's a clear argument that all appraisals - as well as any proposals to sell council homes or land or go ahead with stock transfer ballots - should be put on hold. It is not possible to access all the 'options' or present tenants with a balanced view until the outcome of the Review of Council Housing Finance is known and government has responded.
Remind your councillors and officers that launching the review last December the [then] Housing Minister, Yvette Cooper promised "to ensure that we have a sustainable, long term system for financing council housing" and "consider evidence about the need to spend on management, maintenance and repairs". Demand a moratorium in your area.

Affiliate/re-affiliate and donate to DCH
Lastly, please make sure your organisation's affiliation to DCH is up to date and propose a donation for the campaign at your next meeting.
Please make sure your organisation affiliates each year to DCH at local, regional and national level; propose a substantial donation; subscribe to mailings and order the DCH pamphlet 'Dear Gordon 2' (£1.50 for bulk orders) for tenants and union reps, councillors and others in your area.

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

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

Stock Transfer briefing

Information and questions to ask on 'stock options appraisals'

Affiliate and donate - DCH desperately needs resources!

DCH Dear Gordon 2 and Case for Council Housing in 21st Century Britain pamphlets set out the arguments

Early Day Motion Investment in Council Housing (EDM 368) showing broad support amongst MPs across all parties.

House of Commons Council Housing Group report and Third Reading Briefing on Housing & Regeneration Bill