Date 14 November 2006
Highland: UNISON urges tenants to vote NO before ballot ends
UNISON Highland Branch have issued a further statement urging
tenants to vote no in the housing stock transfer ballot which closes
next Tuesday (21st November). If you do not use your vote you may
well end up with a private landlord, that you do not want, by default..
UNISON believes that stock transfer would not be in the best interests
of tenants and urges Highland tenants to follow the example of Edinburgh,
Stirling and Renfrewshire tenants who all voted no to transfer.
A fourth successive defeat for one of the Scottish Executive's flagship
policies would ensure that the practical other alternatives which
exist need to be adopted and allow housing to remain under the democratic
control of Highland Council.
Aderyn Coull, UNISON Highland's Housing Lead Steward said: "Tenants
should not be conned by Highland Council suggesting that this is
the only way their houses will be upgraded to the Scottish Quality
Housing Standard. Staying with Highland Council or transferring
to another landlord will not affect this requirement.
"All the evidence from other local authorities like Glasgow and
the Borders show that transfer does not work, particularly in a
rural setting due to the high costs of proceeding to second stage
transfer. Highland is unlikely to be any different, especially when
the costs involved will be increased by the large geographic area.
UNISON opposes stock transfer because of the loss of democratic
accountability and also because it is bribery. UNISON believes that
there are alternatives but that the Scottish Executive has chosen
not to follow them.
The Labour party's own conference has for the last three years
voted for the fourth option which would allow councils to borrow
on the same basis as housing associations. Borrowing costs for councils
are lower and this enables more repairs and renovations to be accomplished
more quickly and cheaper."
UNISON Highland Branch Convener Munro Ross added: "Glasgow is
seeking an additional £500 million from the Scottish Executive to
implement second stage transfer due to the complex legal and financial
difficulties involved. The Highland Housing Association makes no
allowances for the costs of second stage transfer in its business
plan so who will pay these costs? Will Highland Housing Association
also seek additional public finance from the Scottish Executive
or will they simply drop these proposals and keep to their centralised
"I urge tenants who are unsure of the impact transfer will have
on them to vote NO as there will be no turning back if it is passed
into an outside organisation which has not yet got charitable status
and is therefore still a private company."
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Aderyn Coull, UNISON Housing
Lead Steward, telephone 07881452137 Munro Ross, UNISON Highland
Branch Convener, mobile 07802 422243 UNISON Highland Branch 53 Shore
Street, Inverness, IV1 1NF