'Fourth Option' - investment to improve existing and build a new generation of first class council housing
52 MPs sponsor 'council housing' amendments for Monday night's debate. Contact yours today to ask for their vote and support!
MPs briefing on amendments to Housing Bill 52 MPs are sponsoring amendments to the Housing & Regeneration Bill to be debated on Monday (March 31) backing council housing.
Email or ring your MP (020 7219 3000) before the vote Monday evening and urge them to support these amendments to secure a future for council housing.
MPs briefing Third Reading Housing Bill
The set of four amendments are essential to stop councils bullying tenants to accept privatisation and to enable them to build a new generation of first class council homes for those on the waiting list. They require government to stop robbing money out of council housing so that all councils can modernise their homes and maintain the standard as an alternative to privatisation; a level playing field to allow authorities to build new council housing; opposition to means testing and promoting mixed communities; and a code of practice to ensure a real debate and democracy when tenants are consulted.
Four amendments cover campaign's key demands
Subsidy arrangements: formula and exclusions
The 200 councils (including 'retaining' authorities and those with ALMOs) won't be able to maintain their homes in years to come on current allowances and some can't meet the government's own Decent Homes standard without gap funding. A new report from the Department for Communities and Local Government based on the finding of their 'opt out' pilot scheme investigation admits that government will be under-funding council housing over the next 30 years by 40% unless allowances are raised significantly. This underlines the case for the amendment tabled on subsidy arrangements that requires the Secretary of State to use a new set of criteria when allocating Management & Maintenance and Major Repairs allowances.
Level playing field on funding
Promises by Gordon Brown and other Ministers that councils would be allowed to build new council homes won't happen in practice unless councils are given a level playing field on grant funding. This amendment removes the discretion from the Secretary of State to discriminate against councils applying for grant funding stipulating that "Local authorities shall be eligible for financial assistance".
Consultation principles and Code of Practice
The amendment on 'consultation principles' proposes a new Code of Practice aimed at preventing councils and predatory landlords conducting one-sided glossy PR campaigns to bully and blackmail tenants into privatisation. It makes a ballot mandatory on PFI, ALMOs and a major change in the management of tenants homes - not just stock transfer - and sets out a set of principles that would prevent many of the democratic outrages that have taken place when councils have CONsulted tenants including changing the date of the ballot, taking down material opposing the council's proposals and refusing to provide lists of those entitled to vote.
Means testing and mixed communities
The fourth amendment aims to prevent a move towards means testing council housing. It sets out two criteria for allocating new tenancies: "to give preference to people in need of housing whilst also promoting mixed and sustainable communities". The amendment also tries to tie down the vague description 'affordable' as "affordable for those on low incomes"
The case for investment in council housing has never been stronger! The private housing market is insecure and unstable. Many who were bribed and cajoled into home ownership now find that they can't afford the mortgage. Repossessions are up and negative equity threatens people once again. At the same time the Housing Corporation has expressed concerns of a significant underspend because Registered Social Landlords aren't taking up funds available to build new homes.
2.5 million council tenants have rejected privatisation of our homes. We expect the support of our MPs! We're demanding that government stop robbing money from council housing and use it to modernise and maintain our homes and estates as first class housing for years to come. Tenants, trade unionists and councillors around the country have been demanding the 'Fourth Option' of investment in council housing. It's time Ministers dropped the dogma and listened to the people! The amendments have broad support from a wide range of tenants and trade union organisations as well as local councillors across all parties. The key housing finance principles have been supported by Labour Party conferences in 2004, 2005 and 2006 and the 2007 conference promised to report back to the 2008 conference this September.
Further information from www.defendcouncilhousing.org.uk
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Four amendments

Subsidy arrangements: formula and exclusions; Level playing field on funding; Consultation principles and Code of Practice; Means testing and mixed communities Third Reading/Report Stage briefing

Council Housing Group's bulletin

DCH campaign newspaper

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

Council Housing group Second Reading briefing on the Bill

Get your organisation to Affiliate & donate to DCH - we urgently funds to make the case for council housing and oppose privatisation