Glasgow’s tenants will be formally consulted on the
controversial proposed transfer of council houses to Glasgow
Housing Association, first minister Henry McLeish announced.
Glasgow Council needs ministerial approval to every step of the
proposed transfer of housing stock, including consultation of
tenants. If the proposal is accepted by the tenants, the £4
billion transfer would be the largest of its kind in the UK.
Making the announcement in Glasgow, McLeish said: “These
proposals represent a significant step forward towards our goal of
tackling social injustice.”
The formal consultation can commence now and will take some
months to cover the tenants of the 82,000 houses involved.
Jackie Baillie, social justice minister, said: “We have also
undertaken to deal with the council’s housing debt of around
£900 million. This means that millions of pounds of
tenants’ rents currently spent on debt would instead be spent
on modernising homes and regenerating communities.”
During the consultation, tenants will be invited to make
representations to the council about the proposals. Tenants’
organisations have been deeply critical of the council, and the
executive in saying they will consult tenants yet making
substantial additional resources dependent on a ‘yes’ vote in the
formal ballot on the transfer.
In the executive’s formal statement, it was revealed that
the formal ballot of tenants will be postponed. While originally
planned for November it will not now happen until the formal
consultation is complete, and only then if the consultation
supports a ballot.
In the recent past, organisations and the council’s own
staff have questioned the financial viability of the plans drawn up
by Glasgow Housing Association (GHA), the group formed to manage
the houses instead of the council. While making no detailed
reference to this, the executive’s formal statement revealed
that “in parallel with consulting tenants, the council and the GHA
are continuing their dialogue with potential funders”.