Glasgow council’s entire housing stock is to be
transferred to the privately funded Glasgow Housing Association
following a ballot of all tenants, writes Reg
Of approximately 78,000 tenants entitled to vote just over
50,000 participated in the biggest ballot of its kind in Scotland.
Over 29,000 voted ‘yes’ – 58 per cent of votes cast –
and almost 21,000 voted ‘no’ – 42 per cent.
Charles Gordon, leader of Glasgow council, welcomed the decision
as a means of drawing £1.5 billion greater investment in
housing, and writing off the city’s £900 million housing
debt by the Treasury.
Gordon said: “The GHA will be investing to ensure that all
tenants will have warm, dry and centrally heated homes within four
years and all modernisation and improvements will be completed
within 10½ years. The GHA’s proposals, which tenants
have backed in their vote, give guarantees on rents over the next
eight years which the council cannot give.”
Iain Gray, justice minister, also welcomed the result of the
ballot and said: “Tenants can now look forward to the good quality,
affordable housing so vital if we are to tackle head on poverty,
ill health and disadvantage.
“The GHA, over the next 11 years, will transform crumbling damp
houses into attractive modern homes and many new houses will be
built to replace those that will be demolished. For the first time
ever tenants’ rent levels will be guaranteed for years to
come. In addition, we aim to create thousands of training and work
opportunities in the construction industry as the GHA’s
investment programme gets underway,” he said.
Tommy Sheridan MSP, a campaigner against the move, criticised
the result. Sheridan said: “Less than 40 per cent of those entitled
to vote voted in favour of the proposals. This ballot does not
provide a mandate to transfer the council’s housing
However, Glasgow council has rejected this view pointing out
that the 64.4 per cent turnout is higher than in general and local
elections, and on a par with similar ballots on the transfer of
housing stock already carried out in England.
Critics of the proposed transfer have warned that rents will
increase in the city contrary to reassurances by GHA. A legal
challenge has also been mounted declaring that the executive and
the local authority supporting GHA as a sole bidder lacked fair
competition, and should be declared invalid with European law. The
results of this challenge are not expected for many months.