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Date: 31 October 2007

Welcome return to key housing role for councils - UNISON responds to Government housing announcement

UNISON - Scotland's housing union - today responded to the Deputy First Minister's announcements on Housing in Scotland, by welcoming the increased incentives for the housing function of councils.

Dave Watson, UNISON's Scottish Organiser said "We have been saying for many years that Scotland's housing problems cannot be solved unless the power and resources to regenerate communities and the ability to build and manage public sector housing is returned to local democratic control.

"We are pleased that initial steps are being proposed to continue and develop councils' landlord role and to put the development of sustainable communities under democratically accountable, local control. We will however, need to get further details of what kind of support is being proposed to authorities who retain their stock.

"But we are concerned that proposals to remove one quango seem to replace it with a combination of another quango and central control. We hope that this will not be a missed opportunity to devolve central functions to local control."

"We are also concerned that the Government seems to have ignored our members, who have many years of work in providing and managing social housing, in their announcement. Along with home owners, tenants, those in housing need, landlords and developers, social housing staff are stakeholders, and UNISON will ensure that their view comes across."

But Dave welcomed the abolition of the right-to-buy. "The Government is also right to say that 'right-to-buy' has damaged the supply of social housing since its introduction by the Tories."

He said. "It should go, and we would call for its complete removal.


Further Information Please Contact: Dave Watson (Scottish Organiser - Policy) 07958 122 409(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)