Housing transfer: Edinburgh votes ‘no’, Argyll says ‘yes’
Edinburgh City Council tenants have today voted ‘no’ to the transfer of council homes to City of Edinburgh Housing Association (CEHA).
However, Argyll & Bute tenants have voted yes to the transfer by what the ERS say is a record majority – 89.6% on a 62.8% turnout (also beating the previous Scottish record of 82.18% set in the Borders in 2001).
In Edinburgh, there was a 60.5% turnout in the ballot and the final results were 6553 in favour of housing transfer and 7301 against. This means that transfer will not go ahead. The Housing Service will now be drawing up plans in consultation with tenants on how we can achieve the Scottish Housing Quality Standard by 2015.
The council says its housing debt will not be written off and the additional funding that was available this year to start speeding up the modernisation programme will not be available in the coming years. ‘We will not have the funding for the planned work in the regeneration areas and far fewer new homes for rent will be built in the city.’
Cllr Sheila Gilmore, Executive Member for Community Safety and Housing and Chair of CEHA, expressed disapointment: ‘It is clear that the consequences of this result are serious and that we will need to find new ways to improve council homes in the future. However, we will work hard to ensure that we continue to deliver the best possible housing service with the resources we have.’
The result in Argyll was hailed by Malcolm Chisholm, as ‘a welcome and momentous result.’
Cllr George Freeman, housing spokesperson for Argyll and Bute Council, said: ‘It is a clear signal from our tenants of their overwhelming support for the work the Council has put into this project over the past four years.’
‘The Council has said from the start of this process that transfer is its preferred option, and we are confident that it will! deliver the much needed home improvements over the coming years, whilst also protecting tenants’ rights. Tenants will reap the benefits from more of their rent being directed into real and lasting improvements for their homes, while the huge amount of work involved will have a long-lasting and positive impact on the whole of Argyll and Bute.’
Major Housing Challenges Ahead
Gavin Corbett, Head of Campaigns at Shelter Scotland said of the result in the Capital: ‘Edinburgh, like many Scottish councils, has a major housing challenge to face in the years ahead. For months now the council has pinned many of its plans on transfer going ahead and it now faces a major rethink as a result of tenants voting no.
‘The city faces a major shortfall in affordable housing and the transfer included proposals to build 10,000 new affordable homes. It is essential that these plans are not lost, for the sake of tenants of tomorrow. When the dust settles we urge local and national politicians to get round the table to discuss how the city can meet the urgent housing challenge that it still faces.
Source: Scottish Housing News