Monday 11 June 2007 5.26pm
If tenants vote against the ALMO then the Govt will have to
release the £ they are witholding - they have to bring all homes up to Decent Homes standards within the next few years. Only approx 30% of homes in Lambeth don't reach Decent Homes (sounds a lot but is actually higher than many local authorities in London).
IT'S not true the money isn't there - the Govt has it to give to a private company, and in many other Local Authorites in the UK, tenants have voted to keep housing management within the Council.
the whole ALMO thing was invented as a sleight of hand to get privatisation through because all over the UK, Council tenants were voting against transfer to Housing Associations which is full-blown privatisation usually leading to massive rent increases and all the other problems associated with having a massive private company as your landlord.
The council are giving out a lot of old flannel about the ALMO not being privatisation. The first stage is the setting up of the management company and at the 2nd, a MASSIVE amount of £ is borrowed from the private sector. If the ALMO co defaults on repayments, that puts the whole of the hosuing stock at risk of being taken out of their hands (i.e. that's the equity). The govt has been quite clever in that none of (my info could be out-of-date here) the current ALMO's have gone through to 2nd stage so there's not been time to see the experience of this going tits up as this would be detrimental to their agenda of getting every one to vote for ALMO.
The ALMO IS
a private company - Lambeth & the govt call it 'not-for-profit' but many of these ALMOs have built up masses amounts of £ in their reserves and the Federation of ALMOs is lobbying the Govt hard to free up financial restictions (e.g they want to be able to float the co on the Stock Exchange etc etc)
There's also a lot of blatant lying going on about 'tenant representation' as this is a big issue with tenants. Yes there are issues with Councillors, but every 4 years, if they mess up, you can vote them out. It's not a perfect system but it's better than the ALMO system.
Also - anyone can get info from the Council under the Freedom of Info Act as it's a public company- not under ALMO.
Basically there will be Tenants Reps & Leaseholder Reps on the ALMO Board. The Shadow Board has been set up to prepare for the ALMO, and to present it as a done deal. Usually at this stage the ALMO people are sweetness and light to the tenants. However AS THE ALMO IS A PRIVATE COMPANY IT COMES UNDER COMPANY LAW SO THAT ANYONE ON THE BOARD HAS TO SIGN CONFIDENTIALITY CLAUSES TO STATE THEY WILL PUT THE INTERESTS OF THE BOARD FIRST. All across the country, this is one of the main issues that has been really hacking off tenants duped into voting for ALMO under the guise that they will be represented as they are now by Councillors and also their own estate reps etc: these reps and any Councillor who goes on the Board cannot tell tenants if there are issues which will be detrimental to what the Board wants to do business-wise. The Council have put a spin on this but it's fact - if you start going outside the Board telling people information that concerns them, YOU WILL BE BREAKING THE LAW. The Reps simply say 'I can't tell you' - and they can't. It's caused a lot of anger amongst tenants who beleived they would have proper democracy as they were told.
Look at the name itself -ARMS LENGTH MANAGEMENT BOARD. Tenants under ALMO have major difficulties getting information - everyone says it's not their concern, it's someone elses. Definitely check out the DCH website.
Just remember the people in the council promoting it are doing so for their own interests, and are pulling the wool over people's eyes. If they are so interested in democray, why is it that the current Labour Council never mentioned a word of about going for the ALMO bid during the Local Council election campaign? They say they 'didn't know' until they got elected - which is rot - they put the bid in a few weeks later and if you beleive what they tell you.........
Council housing was hard-fought for and we don't want to go back to private housing which is profit driven.
Due to hard camapigning over many many years, the Govt is finally making concessions about Council housing - it's been Labour policy to take housing of Council control, despite the fact that 4 Labour Party conferences have voted against this policy and for direct investment in council housing. The party is meant to set their policy by these conference votes, and the policy group (or whatever they're called) have been locked in negotiation with the leaders of the party to persuade them to accept the vote. Due to the mass of tenants across the country voting to stay with the Council, Gordon Brown is having to respond to political pressure-
We're nearly there - don't vote for ALMO and watch those tricky-dicky questions on the ballot paper (it won't be YES / NO, it'll be some crap like 'do you want a new bathroom')