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Date: 25 January 2005

GHA Committee cuts cash collection in Glasgow housing offices

The GHA's Local Housing Organisation (LHO) Development Committee has taken a unilateral decision to withdraw rent collection facilities in 14 Housing Offices across the city, despite opposition to the cuts in services from local communities, elderly groups and the housing union, UNISON.

The decision taken at a meeting last Friday, also flies in the face of the last GHA Board decision to withdraw the proposed cut, pending further reports on the likely effect on rent collection and the elderly.

The GHA Board on 17 December, called for these to be presented at its next meeting on 28 January 2005, but the committee decision seems to pre-empt Fridays meeting.

John Wright, UNISON Convenor of Stewards for the GHA said: "It seems that the concept of listening to tenants, staff and even their own parent body is alien to the Glasgow Housing Association. We have written to the Vice Chair of the Board asking how a decision by them can be overturned by a subsidiary committee, before the Board has had a chance to look at the information and reports they requested."

The proposed cut was part of a cuts package to prepare the GHA for second-stage transfer, splitting up the city's public housing stock amongst LHOs. UNISON has been campaigning with tenants and disadvantaged groups to raise objections to the proposal which it says will remove opportunities for a 'one-stop' housing service for tenants and flies in the face of GHA commitments to retain the level of service previously available under the local council.

It could also mean that house owners who get their services from the GHA might end up being charged for paying their bills outwith housing offices.

"So much for 'community ownership' and 'tenant control'. Said John Wright. "As soon as the money men in the GHA spot a way of saving money - bang goes a useful service. Tenants should have the right to deal with all their housing needs in the one office - not have to go to local shops or post offices (where they still exist) to pay their rent."


For Further Information Please Contact: John Wright (Senior Steward - Housing) 0141 552 7069 (Br Office) 0141-274 6594 (Unison Office)