Public voice their views over Flintshire council homes switch

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CAMPAIGNERS fighting Flintshire Council’s proposed housing stock transfer are to hold a public meeting.

Trade unions, council tenants and Labour councillors have joined together to fight the transfer of council houses to a private housing association.

The council plams to hold a ballot of council tenants next summer on whether the homes of more 15,000 people will be handed over to a private landlord.

Flintshire Defend Council Housing will hold the public meeting next Monday, November 22, at Connah’s Quay Labour Club at 7pm.

Labour group leader and Connah’s Quay councillor Aaron Shotton said: “There is no substitute for publicly owned council housing.

“Anybody who is concerned about the prospect of the council’s plans should attend the public meeting.”

Campaigners fear the move could lead to higher rents for the 7,500 council houses in the county.

Council tenant Dave Walker said: “I can’t believe the independent and Lib Dem councillors running the council want to hand our homes to a housing association, which will be in the debt of the private banks. I want to remain with the council so future generations can also benefit from council housing.”

Ren Davies, regional officer of the Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians said: “Stock transfer, where it has happened elsewhere, has seen a worsening of the terms and conditions of the workers, while at the same time seen massive pay increases for the top managers.

“Council housing is best protected if it stays with the council.”

A Flintshire Council spokesman said: “The Welsh Assembly Government’s policy is that all council homes must be improved to the Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) in a timescale expected by WAG.

“Flintshire County Council was unsuccessful in making a case to WAG to retain the housing stock and has limited funds to meet WHQS in a timescale expected.

“Current projections demonstrate that approximately £467 million is required to meet and maintain WHQS over a 30-year-period.

“The council has therefore decided to ballot tenants on the option to transfer council homes to a not-for-profit registered social landlord as required by the Welsh Assembly Government.

“The council, its employees and advisors are taking a neutral stance and are not advocating that tenants vote one way or the other.

”The costs of the consultation are met by the Assembly Government and not directly by the rent and council tax payers of Flintshire.”

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