European inquiry puts Glasgow housing transfer in doubt

The £4 billion transfer of Glasgow’s council housing
stock to the independent Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) is now
in jeopardy as the European Commission launches an investigation
into the move.

The EU is to investigate claims that the transfer of housing
stock is in breach of its own competition laws.

Campaigners petitioned the European parliament claiming that the
incentives from both Holyrood and Westminster breached the
competition laws since they were dependent on tenants voting for
the transfer to the GHA.

Tommy Sheridan MSP wrote to the commission claiming that the
£300 million interest-free loan to the GHA also breached EU
competition laws.

The loan is viewed as crucial to the GHA’s financial plans
to take over the housing stock from 28 November. The financial
plans include a further £700 million raised from the private
sector to cover repairs.

The GHA rejected the claims as “malicious”, but the European
Commission is known to investigate only those complaints which are
deemed by members to warrant further exploration. The EU’s
inquiry is unlikely to be completed until the autumn placing the
GHA’s proposed takeover date in November in doubt even if the
investigation finds that no breach of the law has taken place.

A spokesperson for the Scottish executive said: “We are still
working towards a transfer by the end of this year.”






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