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UNION SAYS STOCK TRANSFER PROPOSAL IN BIRMINGHAM AN INSULT TO TENANTS

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Unison has warned Birmingham's independent housing commission that it was an insult to tenants to suggest they go t...
Unison has warned Birmingham's independent housing commission that it was an insult to tenants to suggest they go through another housing stock transfer, just eight months after the tenants rejected the biggest transfer proposal in England.

In April, Birmingham City Council tenants said no to the transfer of 80,000 homes, yet the independent housing commission, chaired by Ann Power, has recommended stock transfer for up to a third of Birmingham's stock (see LGCnet).

Unison national officer Colin Meech said:

'The tenants have conclusively rejected stock transfer as the method for repairing and improving their homes. After the shoddy way tenants were treated during the last stock transfer ballot, it is inconceivable that the commission should put this proposal again as a future potential investment vehicle.

'Commission chair, Anne Power, gave us a clear promise that stock transfer would not be included in the commission's recommendations yet here it is. She has broken her promise to Unison and to the tenants of Birmingham.'

Unison said the commission's stock transfer proposals mimicked proposals which have gone ahead in Glasgow, running into serious problems of funding and tenant accountability.

The commission has also announced its findings before the review of local authority housing finance by the ODPM, which reports in January.

Colin Meech added:

'No one doubts that the council has a big job on its hands to upgrade its housing stock. The council needs to make its case as part of the ODPM review and seek the financial capability to meet the Decent Homes Target using the government's prudential borrowing powers which come into force in April 2004.

'We will stand by the tenants as we did during the stock transfer process, and we will oppose any form of proposal that seeks to privatise their homes and transfer away their rights.'

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