[Hpn] Housing Bill = more homelessness & social exclusion, says public service union in Scotland (fwd) service union in Scotland (fwd)

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Thu, 4 Jan 2001 04:58:21 -0800 (PST)

"Far from providing 'new solutions to old problems' as the minister says, in parts of Scotland, whole stock transfer will deliver us back to the bad old days before council housing." -- Unison's Mike Kirby http://news.bbc.co.uk/low/english/uk/scotland/newsid_1087000/1087890.stm FWD BBC News Online: UK: Scotland - Tuesday, 26 December, 2000, 17:29 GMT HOUSING REFORM PLANS UNDER FIRE Plans to reform Scotland's council-owned housing have come under fire from a leader of one of the largest public service unions. Mike Kirby, Unison's Scottish convener, said the recently introduced Housing Bill was flawed, could increase social exclusion and see a hike in rents. He said that plans to transfer local authority homes to housing associations could present serious difficulties for councils when it came to housing homeless people. The Scottish Executive says that transferring control will free up money for repairs and improvements. The Housing (Scotland) Bill was unveiled by Social Justice Minister Jackie Baillie last week. She described it as providing "new solutions to old problems". The minister told the Scottish Parliament that the bill could provide the basis for housing strategies that "look beyond bricks and mortar". It contains measures to prevent and alleviate homelessness and strengthen the rights of homeless people. The bill also provides an enhanced set of rights for all tenants in the social rented sector and gives councils stronger powers and duties to tackle local housing needs. However, Mr Kirby criticised the reform plans, saying it was based around the executive's policy of stock transfer of housing out of local authority control. He said that the concentration on housing transfer meant that many of the bill's most welcome reforms were "contradicted". He said: "On homelessness for example, the strategic responsibility for homelessness is to be with local councils, but those that have given away all their houses will have to set up complex contracts with housing associations and others to deliver their aims. "Far from providing 'new solutions to old problems' as the minister says, in parts of Scotland, whole stock transfer will deliver us back to the bad old days before council housing. "(It is) reducing the choice of tenure, increasing social exclusion and increasing the cost of housing and therefore rents." Mr Kirby claimed that in Glasgow, for example, most tenants would rather their homes remained under local authority control. 'One-sided propaganda' He said: "Despite the concentrated propaganda being thrown at tenants by the Glasgow Housing Association it is still the case that most Glasgow tenants want to stay with the council. "That is the reason why the tenants ballot has been put off yet again. "The GHA will now spend even more public money on one-sided propaganda - money that could be used to refurbish Scotland's houses." END FORWARD **In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this type of information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.** ************************************************************ 9000+ articles by or via homeless & ex-homeless people INFO & to join/leave list - Tom Boland <wgcp@earthlink.net> Nothing About Us Without Us - Democratize Public Policy ************************************************************