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Last Updated: Monday, 21 November 2005, 15:39 GMT
Housing transfer ballot under way
Council chambers
Edinburgh City Council is balloting its tenants
Council tenants in Edinburgh have begun voting on proposals to transfer their homes to a housing association.

People living in the 23,000 properties began receiving their voting papers on Monday.

Edinburgh City Council said the move would free up cash for modernisation and for building new homes, while a 'no' vote would mean big rent rises.

Critics described it as privatisation and argued council houses should remain under local authority control.

The city's housing debt currently stands at about 300m and almost half the rent received by the local authority goes towards paying it off.

We're not just here to rubber-stamp top-down council policy - we're fed up of being treated like doormats
Jenni Marrow
Council tenant

The Treasury will cancel that debt if tenants vote in favour of the transfer to a not-for-profit organisation.

However, the proposal has angered some tenants, who have formed Edinburgh Against Stock Transfer (East) to campaign against the move.

Tenant Jenni Marrow, from Pennywell, said it was being presented as the only option.

"We're being sold this new deal like 'new improved' washing powder, while the other options aren't even being debated," she said.

"This is entirely undemocratic. We're not just here to rubber-stamp top-down council policy - we're fed up of being treated like doormats."

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