An example of Tory dogma that cost Swindon council tax payers a whopping £300,000 was their preferred position to rid the council of its housing stock. Tenants demonstrated their disbelief of this preferred position and a resounding defeat in the housing ballot by tenants put paid to it once and for all.
Labour campaigned against this unnecessary ballot from the outset, arguing that the money could be spent on more pressing needs. The £300,000 is a lot of money to spend on dogma when cuts are being made to Sure Start schemes, bus services and funding for older and vulnerable people. Labour quite rightly argued that self financing of council housing was the best option for the people of Swindon and it has been proved right.
Swindon is now one of 170 councils that have taken back control of all the income from their housing stock. The Tories said this was not their preferred position and their warning of we’re all doomed if tenants voted No. Self financing commenced at the end of last month despite Tory warnings during the ballot of Fraser like utterances of “we’re all doomed” if tenants did not accept the Tory preferred position.
With a one off payment to adjust the Council’s finances of millions of pounds by Swindon borough council to the Tory government saw the end to the old system of Treasury pooled council house rental income. This was a system where all the rental incomes from councils were put into one pot and then redistributed according to the government’s assessment of local need.
Under the new housing revenue self financing accounting system, not only will Swindon be able to maintain its existing houses to sustainable standards. It will allow increasing investment in existing council housing and more importantly allow the building of new homes.