Housing associations, or Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) as they are now known, are becoming a powerful oppressive force within our communities. You get videos showing how marvellous your house will be, fantastic bathrooms with palm trees on the wall - they’re a delight to the eye. But it isn’t true. Former council tenants, who now regret agreeing to transfer, will tell you the promises weren’t fulfilled, repairs weren’t done, their homes weren’t renovated.
Much of what we take for granted - free health care, welfare, social housing - we take for granted without a second thought. Yet none of it existed in the 1930s. Illness could lead to debts for life, housing was back-to-back slums, and if you were out of work, you starved.
Then came the social reforms of the 1940s and 1950s. But the rot started to set in again under Margaret Thatcher, and has accelerated with a vengeance under her true inheritors, Tony Blair and Neo-Labour.
Until Thatcher, social housing was under the council, and nobody envisaged anything else. Then came the ‘right to buy’; when, in an attempt to undermine labour councils, housing was sold off at prices which bled the community chest dry.
And now, following on its heels, the wholesale transfer of the remaining council housing stock to Housing Associations. They are so-called social housing landlords, but often, in practice, are closer to property companies, and becoming synonymous with fat cat salaries, deteriorating properties and rising rents .......
edited article as web page (from Corporate Watch Newsletter)
or download latest Corporate Watch Newsletter (pdf) January-February 2004 (see page 5)
an updated and more extensive version of the article with case studies, references and web links will be posted soon on the Corporate Watch website.