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EDITIONS
Friday, 27 September, 2002, 16:41 GMT 17:41 UK
Long road to better housing
Housing in Drumchapel
More than 82,000 homes are to be transferred

Glasgow's council house tenants were told their homes and lives would be transformed with a housing stock transfer, but the promised future will not be delivered overnight.

The transfer has seemingly already hit stumbling blocks and the massive investment hailed by its supporters will not be seen for some time yet.

Earlier this year Glasgow's council house tenants backed the plan to transfer their homes to the ownership of a housing association.

It was given the enthusiastic backing of the Scottish Executive which saw it as a central pillar of the policy of private finance initiatives, or private public partnerships as they were rebranded.

ballot papers
A majority of tenants backed the move

There was a vociferous campaign against the transfer in Glasgow and the executive coalition's political opponents were sceptical that the transfer was the great deal tenants were promised.

But the deal was voted through in April with the newly formed Glasgow Housing Association promising the transfer would be complete by the end of the year.

However, in September an independent report was leaked to the media which cast doubt over whether or not that target could be met.

The assessment was said to be recommending a target date of 27 January, with the caveat that even this date was "still challenging".

The document was also understood to claim that the GHA will need another 100m from the Scottish Executive to meet staffing costs.


Something as big and important was never going to be easy

Sam Harper

But the executive said it had not been asked for 100m extra and the GHA said it would be appointing a lead funder, one of the big banks, in October.

GHA chairman Sam Harper told BBC News Online Scotland: "We are on course for transfer by the end of the year.

"The housing stock transfer is a complex process involving billions of pounds of investment in Glasgow.

"It is the biggest housing transfer in Europe and will deliver real improvements to the many people in Glasgow who live in poor quality housing."

However, at the GHA's annual general meeting a week later Mr Harper was more downbeat in his assessment of the progress being made over the transfer of 82,000 homes.

Run down housing
Tenants were promised massive investment

He said: "It's hard work. It's hard work for the tenants, it's hard work for the management committee, it's hard work for the GHA staff and it's also hard work for all stakeholders who want to see this succeed. Something as big and important was never going to be easy."

Tenants voted on the transfer in a postal ballot, which drew a 64.4% turnout, and backed it with a 58.3% majority.

At the time the transfer's opponents called into question the mandate of Glasgow Housing Association and pledged to maintain their campaign against it.

But despite the potential delay in the transfer it seems almost certain that it will go ahead, and that the example set by Glasgow City Council will be copied by other Scottish local authorities.

See also:

20 Sep 02 | Scotland
05 Apr 02 | Scotland
06 Sep 01 | ppp
06 Sep 01 | ppp
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