THE Examiner editorial of January 30 condemns the recent, above the rate of inflation, 4.7% rent increase for council tenants. The editorial is correct in asserting that Government funding restrictions are to blame for many increases in the cost of local services, but also the rent increase is one of the inevitable consequences of the right to buy.
As Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing loses property through the right to buy then they lose much-needed revenue. Already they have sold estate-based offices, providing a worse service for tenants. Regular rent increases will become the norm.
The sooner the right to buy is abolished the better, and if the local council is afraid of the legal consequences of halting the right to buy then they should make the criteria of buying one’s home so hard as to become impossible.
The Examiner editorial also asks why Kirklees Federation of Tenants remains quiet on this issue?
Simple! The Kirklees Federation of Tenants is an admirable organisation that has done much good work. But it has never had any teeth because a large amount of its funding comes from Kirklees Council.
This is the way with many voluntary sector organisations. They are silenced by the fear of having their funding cut. In fact, the funding system is a very efficient way of the council absorbing and silencing potentially troublesome groups in the community.
The sooner ordinary people build their own social and political movement, independent of government, political parties and big business, one that is committed to real social justice and change, the better.