The National Executive of the Labour Representation Committee, chaired by FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack1, has passed a resolution supporting Swindon Tenants Campaign Group’s call (see our new pamphlet) for Labour to:

  • Press the government to reopen the 2012 ‘debt settlement’ and write off council housing debt in line with the significant loss of rental income resulting from government policies since 2012;

  • Commit to cancelling so-called council housing debt if elected to government.

The LRC agreed to write to the Labour leadership calling on them to support these proposals. It also agreed to circulate its affiliated organisations to ask them to do likewise.

We welcome the decision by the LRC. Existing council housing is facing a big financial crisis as a result of government policies which are responsible for less rent being collected.

  • The government is imposing a 1% rent cut for the next 4 years;

  • The ‘enhanced’ right to buy has increased sales from less than 3,000 to over 12,000 a year.

As a result councils are having to cut back on plans to build new homes and spending on maintenance and renewal of existing stock. Councils are literally being starved of funds at the same time as having to service the unjust debt which was imposed in 2012. In the case of Swindon Council the rent income that it is now expected to collect over the remainder of its 30 year business plan is estimated at £364 million less than was planned for in 2012. This is an example of the extent to which these business plans have been undermined by the coalition and Tory governments.

If you are a member of a tenant group, a union or Labour Party branch, then please raise this issue, try to persuade it to support our proposals and write to the Labour leadership. Ask them to order copies of our pamphlet which was published to explain the roots of the unprecedented financial crisis which council housing faces. If you would like us to write to your organisation email us at stcg@btinternet.com .

Martin Wicks

Secretary, Swindon Tenants Campaign Group

1John McDonnell was Chair until recently.

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