Swindon TUC meeting – Keep our Council Homes

This is a Swindon TUC press release

Keep our Council Homes – No to transfer to a private landlord

Swindon Trades Union Council is holding an open meeting to discuss the threat of the transfer of the town’s Council Housing to a Housing Association. The Council is undertaking a consultation of tenants to explain the finances and to see what the view of tenants is. When an “options appraisal” was conducted more than five years ago the overwhelming view of tenants was that they wanted to stay with the Council rather than have a private landlord.

Last time Swindon TUC organised a campaign which brought together tenants and local trades unions to oppose transfer. That’s what we intend doing again.

Thus far the consultation has not reached many people. The event organised at the Steam Museum only attracted 89 tenants so the Council will have to do what was done last time – organise meetings on the Council estates.

Swindon TUC Secretary Martin Wicks (a tenant himself) said:

“Tenants have the opportunity to stop this process in its tracks. If there is a clear message from them that they do not want to transfer to another landlord then it is likely that the Council will not proceed with a ballot.

Should the Council lose a ballot it would cost the tax-payers £1 million, so it is unlikely that they would proceed unless they thought they could win one.

We are told that we cannot afford to keep our Council homes. We don’t believe that is true. However, if the government was not taking £9 million a year of Swindon’s rent money then there would be no argument for transfer. That is why there is a national campaign demanding of the government that we have the right to keep all our rental income.

With more than 7,000 families on the Council waiting list, we need more Council houses if housing need is to be addressed. With mortgage defaults increasing and tight credit, the only realistic way of providing “affordable housing” is to begin building Council housing once again.

Transferring our stock to a Housing Association will not produce any more housing. It will merely pass on financial problems from the Council to the tenants themselves.”

The meeting is on Wednesday February 4th at the Broadgreen Centre in Salisbury St (off of Manchester Rd) at 7.30 p.m.

Swindon TUC has set up a website to help with the campaign. It can be found at:


For further information ring Martin Wicks on 07786 394593

To read “The Case Against Transfer” by the national Defend Council Housing campaign see



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