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BORDERS DISMISSES PRICE AS 'LUDICROUS'

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Scottish Borders Council has described as 'ludicrous' claims it could be about to sell off its entire housing stock...
Scottish Borders Council has described as 'ludicrous' claims it could be about to sell off its entire housing stock at a twelfth of its real value.

Borders' 6,500 remaining council homes - the subject of Scotland's first mass transfer of housing - are expected to be valued at around£24m later this week.

But Borders MSP Christine Grahame (SNP) claimed the Scottish Borders

Housing Association had offered to pay only£2m for the entire stock.

'I am pretty sure the figure is accurate - it came from a very good source at the centre of Borders local government,' said Ms Grahame.

She called for all the paperwork surrounding the deal to be made public and, if necessary, a second ballot of tenants to be held to decide whether the housing should remain under council control.

Over 80% of tenants backed the transfer to the housing association in a ballot held last November.

'They didn't know what they were getting into,' said Ms Grahame.

But Ms Grahame's claim was rubbished by deputy leader David Parker (Ind).

'It's ludicrous - we haven't received a bid of£2m, and we wouldn't entertain one,' he said.

If a bid 'significantly below'£24m was received, the council would consider retaining the stock, he said.

Ms Graham said an amendment to the Local Government in Scotland Bill would be needed to change 'ridiculous' Treasury rules which prevented councils from borrowing money to invest in housing.

'Why are we even going down this route? If councils could borrow money for housing purposes, then the housing stock could stay with them,' she said.

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