Dundee: What is Stock Transfer.

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TaysideTenants.Org - What Is Stock Transfer

WHAT IS STOCK TRANSFER?

Stock transfer’ is what can only be called a dogma of New Labour leaders just as it was of the leaders of the old Torrie Party. There is few practical argument for it, so the Scottish Executive, like the British Government has resorted to what many housing activist would call blackmail – no funding for repairs unless tenants vote yes some would say. However in Aberdeen, Dundee, Birmingham, and all over Britain council tenants are voting NO to this alleged blackmail.

“STOCK TRANSFER” = PRIVATISATION

After “Stock Transfer” houses are no longer publicly owned by the council, but are owned by private landlords. This would have to be a ‘not for profit’ company, but it would otherwise be run like any other business. Housing Association executives – many on executive pay - are required to make money to pay back banks and building societies on which they depend on for funding, and for whom profit is one of the bigger driving priorities.

‘Housing associations, whatever their origins, are all now dependent on the financial markets to fund their investments. They are subject to mergers, takeovers and rationalisation in an aggressively competitive market.’

Jeremy Corbyn MP

‘I never realised that the bankers, brokers and consultants were philanthropists, money-makers with a social conscience. The interests of tenants take precedence over the interests of shareholders? Dream on.’

Mick Graham GMB national officer

HIGHER RENTS AND SERVICE CHARGES

Housing association rents are generally higher than Council rents – even though the government has tried to stimulate high council rent rises. Housing association rents are guaranteed for an initial period after transfer, but it was recently revealed by The Courier Newspaper, that Scottish housing associations are attempting to pressure the Scottish Executive into waiving this Guarantee. In addition, even if the rent guarantee is not waived, what will happen next tenants are asking? Tenants on Housing Benefit may have to pay some of these rent rises themselves. There is no guarantee on levels of service charges, which may rise considerably.

DON’T BE MISLED

On all examples of improvements made by housing associations, you are left to ask how much government money they received for the improvements. It is more than likely that private landlords have made no difference but the public money has! Small Housing Associations may appear from the outside more accountable to tenants, but many are still subject to the will of the banks, and are increasingly being taken over by bigger companies.

JOB LOSSES

Stock Transfers normally take work away from the councils’ direct labour organisations. During the stock transfer consultation in Dundee, Willie Gowans, chair of Dundee City Council Joint Shop stewards Committee commented that transfer could lead to job losses, a lower standard of service for council tenants, and an end to building apprenticeships in Dundee. In Glasgow, stock transfer has led directly to an attempt by the Glasgow housing Association to axe large parts of the concierge system in the city's tower blocks. Stock Transfer would seem to mean fewer services for tenants.

‘The OPDM’s [Office of the Deputy Prime Minister] ideological war against council 1housing and council ownership is a war against tenants. They mostly want to stay with the council. It costs millions to give away billions of pounds worth of public assets. It is purely ideological since councils have lower costs and can renovate and repair less expensively. It results in no real improvement in the lot of tenants but an increase in rents and charges. It distracts attention from the main housing problem: the need for far more public housing for those who cannot afford to get on a house price escalator accelerating beyond them. It is time to change the policy’

Austin Mitchell MP, chair of the House of Commons ‘Council Housing’ Group

For more information on stock transfer and the fight against it Click Here To Visit www.defendcouncilhousing.org.uk

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Dundee: What is Stock Transfer.

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This article was published on 2005/09/08
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