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STOCK TRANSFER REPORT - A MISSED OPPORTUNITY - A RESPONSE FROM UNISON SCOTLAND

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Scotland's public service union, criticised the report of the social inclusion, voluntary sector housing committee ...
Scotland's public service union, criticised the report of the social inclusion, voluntary sector housing committee into housing stock as 'a missed opportunity.'

Mike Kirby, Unison's Scottish convenor, said: 'We welcome recommendations calling on the executive to compare the costs of public and private sector investment and to clarify the value for money of these transfer schemes.

'It is, however, a shame that they missed an opportunity by accepting the principle of housing stock transfer before the cost questions have been answered.

'We know from studies done in Glasgow and Dumfries that proposals there are far from value for money for tenant or taxpayer.

'It is also curious that whilst the report calls for councils to be the main strategic planning bodies - it accepts the removal of housing from their control, threatening the strategic management of a range of essential services - like housing, home helps and social work services.'

Unison does welcome many of the subsidiary recommendations however. Mike Kirby continues: 'It is pleasing that points raised by tenants and unions have been

reflected in some recommendations.

'The failure of the Glasgow process to properly deal with union and tenant involvement in discussions, the continued operation of DLO's and the maintenance of apprenticeships, and the points we have made on the limitations of TUPE protection are all dealt with and we urge the Scottish eExecutive to address these in real

discussions with unions - rather than the token meetings that have taken

place until now.'

The union's campaign against the principle of whole stock transfer shows no

sign of going away.

However, Mike Kirby says: 'This method of investing in public housing removes democratic accountability; increases costs and threatens rent levels and housing and

construction jobs. All the positive recommendations in the report could be

adopted by local councils with public housing controlled democratically, with the housing debt burden lifted - as the Executive already propose to do after transfer.'

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