HOUSING FOR ALL
- Cancel Local Authority Housing Debt. Each Local Authority has a Public Loans Board, which borrows money from the banking sector either directly from the banks, or via central government. The Local Authority Housing Debt is the debt associated with the Council Housing budget. The Stock Transfer programme is an attempt by Local Authorities to offload the debt burden to the private sector and the taxpayer. We aim to free Local Authorities of their housing debt by advocating the complete cancellation of the fraudulent debt which the banking system created out of nothing in the first place.
- Support the Right of Tenants to Buy. Tenants should have the right to buy their own home, but instead of the money going, by law, to pay off the Local Authority Housing Debt, it should go into the Local Authority Housing Revenue account to spend locally on housing - either new build, or regeneration - which should be in addition to any money already allocated.
There is nothing wrong with selling council houses to individual tenants who wish to buy their homes, so long as the council is maintaining an important commitment to the provision of public sector housing.
- Regeneration is for Building Communities not just for building houses. We will scrutinise any regeneration plans in order to ensure adequate provision of local amenities, following full consultation with the local community.
- Oppose Stock Transfer. The maintenance of the council housing stock is vital. It is a valuable community asset, without which a local authority has greater difficulty and expense tackling homelessness.
- Amend Tenant's Choice. Public sector tenants already have a right to choose a new landlord provided it is one approved by Communities Scotland (the Scottish Executive's housing agency). We suggest amending Tenant's Choice to enable tenants to transfer from a Housing Association, back to their Local Authority, if the Housing Association is not satisfactory.
- Investigate the Affordability of Rents. More and more people are becoming dependent upon rented accommodation. We advocate a comprehensive survey of rented accommodation which will examine whether people are paying rents that are affordable, the percentage of disposable income such rents are consuming, and the level at which it should be set in order to lift low income families out of the poverty trap.
- Refurbish Existing Stock. We advocate high quality public housing, with double glazing, central heating, damp-proofing and the installation of high-tech security features, including window locks, strong front doors, CCTV cameras and good lighting.
- Encourage Green Housing. We advocate legislation to ensure all new-build housing, whether in the public or private sector, is energy efficient, and includes a solar energy content - even in Scotland!
- Recycle our Houses. In Glasgow, for example, we already have a wonderful housing resource just sitting waiting in buildings which are lying unused because nobody can afford the rent. Disused buildings, old warehouses, and premises sitting empty from the first floor up, can and should be converted into housing.