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Labour conference backs 'Fourth Option' third year in row
Trade unions backed motion from 15 Constituency Labour Parties at Labour's conference Sept 2006 (photo Andrew Wiard Three years running the Labour Party conference has overwhelmingly voted for direct investment. "Conference again calls on government to provide the 'fourth option' of direct investment to council housing as a matter of urgency." Read statement from Austin Mitchell MP, text of Composite 10, mover's speech and press.
Ministers tried to get the motion withdrawn but 15 Constituency Labour Parties, backed by the trade unions, insisted on a vote which went 2:1 against the government. In an attempt to persuade delegates the Labour Party National Executive Committee also put a statement to conference. Tenants and trade unionists prepare to leaflet Labour conference delegates (photo Simon Clark This pledged that the sub-group set up by the National Policy Forum would be addressing the issues DCH bulletin distributed to Labour conference delegates "We recognise the decisions conference has taken on the issue of social housing in 2004 and 2005". "We believe that bringing all social housing up to decent standards is central to Labour's Sustainable Communities agenda." "In particular the group is exploring ways of creating a level playing field in the funding for social housing, between those with ALMOs or Housing Associations, and those without." " we await its conclusions early next year" Read pre-conference bulletin and conference report.

DCH Conference launches Open Letter to Tony Blair
Derek Simpson, Amicus general secretary signing the DCH Open Letter to Tony Blair with Alan Walter (chair DCH) at Amicus natinal conference (photo Simon Clark Tenants, trade unionists and councillors from across the UK met at the TUC in London for the DCH national conference on May 22 and launched a new Open Letter to Tony Blair.
The letter (sign online) argues the 'Fourth Option' would provide a long term future for council housing and benefit all areas retaining council homes, those in ALMOs opposed to two-stage privatisation and those facing transfer, PFI or ALMO in the coming year. It has already been signed by a wide range of tenants, trade union leaders, councillors and MPs.
Read contributions from Jack Dromey, Michael Meacher MP, Eileen Short and other speakers, Policy Statement, Open Letter & conference summary and press statement.

Privatisation hits the buffers
123 councils have already decided to keep their homes (Oct 2006). Make sure there's an effective campaign in all 55 areas due to ballot on stock transfer and those planning ALMOs. Bring together tenants, trade unions, councillors and MPs and contact DCH for help producing material to get the arguments out on local estates (also stock options survey).
The big votes by tenants in many authorities shows the strong support for council housing. Tenants want improvements but we aren't prepared to trade secure tenancies and lower rents for new kitchens and bathrooms. Nor do we want to take the risk of two-stage privatisation by ALMO.
Join tenants in Waveney, Cannock Chase, Selby, Mid Devon, Sedgefield, Ellesmere Port & Neston, Kingston, Wrexham, Aberdeen, Birmingham, Dudley, Camden, Southwark and elsewhere who have voted NO to privatisation!
Let us know what's happening in your area.

Policy review announced
Ministers have asked officials to look at the financial evidence on disinvestment in council housing and Labour's National Policy Forum has set up a working group to address the terms of the 2005 conference motion calling for the 'Fourth Option'.
Jack Dromey, T&G; deputy general secretary and a member of the new Policy Forum working group told the DCH fringe meeting at Labour's Blackpool spring conference (Feb 11): "A working party has been set up, myself and six others, to work out how councils can meet the needs of tenants. "This will look at two things - greater freedoms for councils to improve their housing, and for councils to have a role in new build... "My view is the door is open, but it won't be easy. We can only win by a combination of the power of our arguments and the power of our campaigning. "We must continue to engage nationally and to campaign locally for NO votes until we see tenants having a real choice and councils having real freedoms."
Sarah Webb, director of policy at the Chartered Institute of Housing commented "I imagine if I was a tenant I wouldn't want to discuss options until I knew what is coming out of this group" Fourth option fighters claim victory, Inside Housing, 16 Feb.

1300+ attend rally at Parliament and lobby MPs
Tenants, trade unionists and councillors came to London to support the campaign in Feb 2006 More than 1300 tenants, trade unionists and councillors, from over 90 areas across the UK, took part in the Lobby of Parliament and rally on Feb 8 (web report and bulletin).
Delegations heard from 32 speakers, exchanged experience and lobbied their MPs.
Councils can no longer tell tenants that government policy is set in stone.

MP's report documents the case for 'Fourth Option'
The House of Commons Council Housing group has produced a 40 page report documenting the evidence they gathered from their inquiry into support for the 'fourth option'.
Help make sure it is widely read by tenants, councillors and trade unionists in your area.
For more information see website.
full report

A clear manifesto commitment (May 2005)
Labour's election manifesto makes a clear pledge - let's make sure they keep it:
"By 2010 we will ensure that all social tenants benefit from a decent, warm home with modern facilities."
The pledge is simple. It doesn't say that the commitment is dependent on tenants voting a certain way. Reject stock transfer, PFI or ALMOs and join the campaign for the 'fourth option'. Get tenants, councillors, unions and MPs in your area to demand direct invstment in council housing with no strings attached Labour manifesto (page 80). Download DCH poster
Tenants say No to ALMO, PFI and transfer
Camden DCH outside ODPM 9th January following No Vote Tenants in Camden, central London, dealt a major blow to the government's strategy to privatise council housing voting by an overwhelming 77% against an ALMO. Tenants on Camden's Maiden Lane followed this with an 80% vote against PFI. More >>> about the Camden campaign and download report on why tenants voted No and how we campaigned.

Majority of NO votes in 2006 ballots
Swansea tenants, councillors, trade unionists and Sian James MP campaigning for No vote Tenants in Gravesham voted a whopping 86% NO to transfer (Dec 4), Salisbury voted 71.3% NO (Nov 29) and Highlands voted 59.7% NO (Nov 22). South Kesteven voted 73.2% NO (Nov 14). Renfrewshire (Oct 18) and Stirling tenants voting 2:1 against transfer (Oct 11) followed 4/4 NO votes in Tower Hamlets, east London (Sept 29). Tenants in Waveney, Cannock Chase, Selby and Mid Devon all rejected privatisation in 2006 (see all NO Votes).
Make sure there's an effective campaign in all 55 areas due to ballot on stock transfer and those planning ALMO (DCLG list). Bring together tenants, trade unions, councillors and MPs and contact DCH for help producing material to get the arguments out on local estates.

Funding Decent Council Housing New motion (EDM 136) in Parliament - get your MP to sign. Email your MP now.
House of Commons Austin Mitchell MP has tabled a new motion at the start of the new Parliament. 149 MPs backed the last motion (EDM 48). Get organisations and individuals to lobby MPs to sign now.

Blair invites questions to Ministers
Labour says Let's Talk' so send them a question... Tony Blair invites people to put a question to Ministers. DCH has produced 10 questions tenants, councillors and trade unionists could ask Ruth Kelly. And sign DCH Open Letter to Blair.

New eight page newspaper Oct/Nov Tenants say No to all stock transfers, PFI and ALMOs
Read analysis of Labour's Conference vote, case for 'Fourth Option', arguments against transfer, PFI and ALMOs and how to organise effective local campaigns.
Bulk order copies for tenants, trade unions and councillors (£18 per 100/£100 per 1000 - further reductions available).

"The Case for council housing in 21st Century Britain" new pamphlet
New DCH pamphlet - The Case for council housing in 21st Century Britain DCH has produced a new 98 page pamphlet bringing together 31 articles from leading tenant activists, MPs, trade unionists, councillors and academics.
Get your organisation to bulk order (@£2.50 each) printed copies to distribute to tenants reps, councillors and trade unionists in your area.
Download Acrobat file or Word file

Two new newspapers for Wales & Scotland Scottish DCH Newspaper August 2006
Wales DCH Newspaper August 2006 DCH has produced 100,000 copies of a Welsh newspaper sponsored by the Wales TUC, UNISON, T&G; and GMB and a Scottish newspaper to support local campaigns against transfer.

Reply to Kelly's Discussion Paper
Ruth Kelly, the new Minister, made a speech (7 June) on 'Decent Homes to Sustainable Communities' and published a statement and Discussion Paper opening a three month consultation. DCH Interim Response to government discussion paper - tell them what you think!
DCH has produced an Interim Response (July 15) with an introduction by Austin Mitchell MP urging tenants, councillors and trade unionists to contribute towards a final document. Distribute to every tenant rep, councillor and union steward in your area (printed copies available). Final response now available.
Ministers recognise their policy is unsustainable. See press: Government drops council house repair deadline and Kelly ushers in new era.
New DCH pamphlet: 'ALMOs: Revert Back - Safeguarding the future of council housing' out soon DCLG also finally published the outcome of its Review of ALMOs. DCH and the European Services Strategy Unit are writing a new pamphlet ALMOs: Revert Back - safeguarding the future of council housing making the case once 'Decent Homes' improvements have been completed. Can you help?

Sign Open Letter to Tony Blair
Sign the Open Letter to Tony Blair Sign the Open Letter to Tony Blair online or download copies of the Open Letter to use in your area get tenants, trade unionists, councillors and MPs to sign.
Put motions through tenants and trade union organisations supporting the Open Letter, circulate widely (mail/email) and write letters to local press. (petition version)

Affiliate & Donate
Unlike local authorities we can't dip into the Housing Revenue Account and use tenants rents to campaign. DCH relies on affiliation fees, donations and sale of publications to get the arguments across. Raise support in your tenants association, union branch, Trades Council and political party. Download details.

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