Swindon tenants are to be balloted about picking a new landlord to own their homes. This is a sell off, even though it is hidden by the word transfer. Labour Councillors voted against this and do not support the Tories in their attempt to push through pick a landlord. Labour Councillors do not believe that £600,000 of council tax payers money spent asking tenants if they want to have a new landlord.
Is it wise use this amount of money in these austere times without enquiring from tenants if they want to have a new landlord? If they did they may well find there is no appetite for this from tenants. Tenants have not been demanding that they want a new landlord to manage their homes. The Tories voted enmasse for this at Council and a recorded vote was taken. The Tories by forcing tenants to vote to pick a new landlord will cost Swindon council tax payer £600,000. The Tories may pat themselves on the back for spending council tax payers money this way. However council tax payers will still be down £600,000.
On top of this there will be transfer cost to pay on top of the £600K this could be another a minimum of 600k. This Tory dogmatic whim will cost all Swindon council tax payers some 1.2 Million. For Swindon council tax payers and tenants it is lose, lose, lose! For the Tory political machine and the Consultants they will employ it will be a win. Yes as the Tories keep reminding us we are all in this together. Only it’s our council tax money that’s funding this ballot bonanza!
None of the Council Tax Payers money will be recovered by Swindon Council from executing this purely political whim, that is being driven directly by the Tory led government. The £1.2 million of new debt created by this sell off will be added to the tens of millions borrowed by this Tory council over the last couple of years or so.
The leader Rod bluh and other Conservative Councillors spoke of choice about asking tenants about the £145 Million pounds of new debt being invented by the Tories and piled onto Swindon tenants.
Cllr Steve Wakefield asked the leader if he was so committed to choice, why did he not give the people of Swindon the opportunity to vote on whether the council should accrue the Whichelstowe debt and all the debt his cabinet was racking up? The Leader did not answer the question. However to be fair the lead member dealing with the Tory housing options ballot told the chamber later that the Whichelstowe debt had nothing to do with this subject or this debate! So was that an admission by the Tories that the Whichelstowe debt exists?
During this debate the lead member admitted that only a quarter 25% of Swindon council houses have a modern bathroom. That only 50% of Swindon council houses have a modern kitchen. Cllr Steve Wakefield pointed out to the conservative front bench that all he had heard from the previous lead member was him telling us for years how well the Conservatives were doing with their decent home standard and their own Swindon Standard. For years it has been paraded in many Conservative leaflets and lorded over Labour Councillors how well the Tories were doing with improving Swindon council houses. Cllr Steve Wakefield pointed out that this was a clear contradiction, and had been highlighted by the Tories themselves.
The fact is: the Tories have in 10 years only updated 25% of bathrooms and 50% of kitchens had been fitted.
Cllr Steve Wakefield called this scandalous and outrageous. Conservatives challenged him as to what Labour had done. He reminded them that in 2000 the Labour government had introduced the decent homes standards and at that time after 18 years of Tory rule there was 1.4 million council homes 45% of which did not meet the decent home standard. In the housing association sector there were 500,000 with 28% of those not meeting the decent standard. Labour put hundreds of millions of pounds into public housing over the last decade upgrading homes. That is what Labour did in the last 10 years!
The Swindon conservative council had claimed all of the credit for the good work that money had done. However their 25%-50% is nothing to crow about now. They now have the temerity to use this as a reason to put to tenants to ask them to change their landlord! All we can see is contradiction and confusion from the Conservative council as they flip flop about pandering to Pickles and his Tory dream factory policies. This may turn out like another of his dreams, like when he woke up one morning and found that his dream of weekly refuse collections had been binned by councils!
This Tory dogma is going to cost all Swindon council tax payers and I hope they beat a path to their Councillors asking them why they have to pay for such a Pickled idea!