10 Nov 2006

ALMOs no, Council housing yes

The Green Party must defend council housing, support for ALMOs is like support for IMF policies, yes this is at fiscal gunpoint but no we should not give in.

This is from Anne Gray, I am against ALMOs too, they are soft way of privatising the remaining council houses, houses are now selling for over £300,000 on average in London, where are my children going to live and yours if this stays like this!

I am strongly against ALMOs. This issue has been much discussed in the community in Haringey where live. It did actually come up in hustings in the May 2006 elections and one or two Green Party candidates did attend a public meeting specifically called to discuss the ALMO issue amongst tenants' groups, where they opposed the ALMO. All candidates in the local election, of any party, were challenged by the residents' anti-ALMO campaign to respond to a questionnaire about their position and I think virtually all followed my lead in giving answers which were opposed to ALMOs - with the proviso that any transfer to a genuinely tenant-led, tenant-controlled body should not be blocked by any new policy which might be put in place of the existing government stance.

ALMOs open the door to privatisation, because there are powers to sell off the ALMO to the real private sector (ie to a shareholder owned company) after a number of years.

The process of conducting a `referendum' about stock transfer in Haringey was seriously manipulated with a huge budget devoted to getting tenants to vote yes without telling them this crucial fact. Virtually the only argument put forward was that if an ALMO was set up, the council would get more central government money for improvements - but in fact there is no guarantee that this will happen.

See www.defendcouncilhousing.org.uk for details of arguments and anti-ALMO campaigns throughout the country.

Anne Gray


Anonymous said...

It is a pity that the person who wrote this does not bother to check the facts. If she wants housing for her children at affordable prices the only real option is not ALMO or retained Council stock but a transfer to a not for profit housing association. Yes the rump of the council owned homes will remain without a transfer but any future development will not be possible for councils or ALMOs due to the financial constraints on the PSBR (sorry about jargon but if you want to comment on you should know what you are talking about). As for the link to Defend Coucil Housing this website has false statements which they have been asked to remove but do not, presumably as they are trying to make a case which is not supported by facts but they do not care and are happy to see people in poor or no housing as long as it fits with their pathetic politics.

Jim Jepps said...

What - everywhere? Regardless of local circumstances?

A number of councils have backed down from alternatives to council housing precisely because local campaigners have done the sums and shown that council housing MAKES money rather than losing it.

You're clearly ideologically opposed to council housing otherwise why would you make such a blanket statement in opposition to it? If you'd bothered to check the facts you'd know this.

Anonymous said...

Apoligies to those councils that can and have achievied the decent homes standard. I have no axe to grind with them. My local council has already met the decent homes standard and has, in consultation with tenants, decided to continue to run their homes and are doing an excellent job.

The only downside of this is if the goverment decides to take more money off them to subsidise the councils who have borrowed excessively and /or have never put money into housing they are going to have to pay for them.

Locally half the money paid in rent goes to the goverment to be paid to the less prudent councils.

I support good council housing (having worked some 25 years in it) and am happy that 83( at last count) councils are retaining their homes, what I have trouble with is those who have no way of delivering decent homes but still think that the government should bail them out. As I said before, but not with enough explanation, the money required to meet the decent homes target for those who oppose transfer will bust Gorden Brown's targets on borrowing.

He is unlikely to agree to this which means those happy to keep up the anti transfer or ALMO line will be making sure that people continue to live in poor housing. I hope they are happy with this. I hope they can keep their heads up when their constituants come into their surgeries and can say "your home may be lousy but look at what we have done we have kept it for the council" "Some time it might be improved but now it is more important to make a petty political point, so go home and wrap up warm (sounds like Edwina Curry)"

Anonymous said...

ALMOs are not a form of privatisation - no assets transfer to the private sector.

They are proving to be a way of saving council housing - and keeping it in the public sector.

Look at the Audit Commission reports - the three stars and the good practice described. Housing associations should be following the examples being set!

Lets hope the ALMOs are not disbanded when the Decent Homes Standard improvement works are complete.

When Keir Starmer was a Marxist.

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