Stirling rejects stock transfer

Stirling rejects stock transfer

Council tenants in Stirling have voted by a large majority to reject stock transfer to a not-for-profit company, Housing Stirling.

Despite a massive propaganda campaign by the Scottish Executive, Stirling Council and not-for-profit housing organisation Housing Stirling, tenants have overwhelmingly rejected the transfer of their homes out of council control.

Despite the now familiar glossy pro-transfer literature, promises of new funding, threats regarding the impossibility of fulfilling commitments if the council retained ownership, Sitrling tenants voted against the proposals 3,220 to 1,511 in a 68% turnout. The Scottish Executive's housing policy is rapidly unravelling, after a similar rejection in Edinburgh, with only 3 of 32 local authorities managing to transfer stock so far. Aberdeen and Dundee abandoned plans for a ballot after encountering hostility at the consultation stage.

Glasgow, the largest authority to press ahead with plans, has had a disastrous experience of stock transfer, with new tenants being charged exorbitant rents (despite guarantees for existing tenants), and threatened with evictions after just one month in arrears. The Glasgow Housing Association (GHA) has also had to admit that it will be unable to meet its targets this year, and that many tenants will be left dissappointed, as of yet not a single new house has been built.

The government's stock transfer campaign has also hit a brick wall in Wales, which, after Wrexham's rejection, has seen no transfer ballots since 2004.

Stirling Council and the Scottish Executive have warned of "serious consequences" for the council tenants defiance, with communities minister adding ruefully, "We will continue to support Stirling Council, but the plain fact is that what we can offer is nothing like as generous as what would have been delivered through a yes vote to transfer." Further ballots are due soon in Renfrewshire, Highland and Inverclyde.