Saturday, 28 July 2007

Majority vote AGAINST Lambeth ALMO!

Here are the actual figures provided by the Electoral Reform Society (the most important question as opposed to the leading questions that precede it):

Question 4

Would you support setting up an ALMO for Lambeth to deliver these improvements?

Total number of eligible voters: 30,986

Total number of votes received: 8,385

Overall rate of participation: 27.1%

Total number of spoilt/blank ballot papers: 107

Therefore, total number of valid votes counted: 8,278


Number voting Yes: 3,518 (42.5% of the valid vote)

Number voting No: 3,362 (40.6% of the valid vote)

Number voting Don’t Know: 1,398 (16.9% of the valid vote)

TOTAL 8,278 (100% of the valid vote)

Perhaps Lambeth Council are using a different number system to the rest of us, but I make 40.6% ('No' votes) plus 16.6% ('Don't Know' votes) a total of 57.5%. The 'Yes' votes are therefore a minority of votes cast.

Lambeth's spin doctors are simply lying when they claim majority support for their ALMO scheme.

Lambeth DCH will be campaigning to get the actual result out to residents and to prove to the Government (the DCLG) that residents do not support the ALMO.

Thanks to our supporters for delivering our leaflets and carrying the arguments against the ALMO and for direct investment in Council housing. We fight on.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Can you help with canvassing?

Teams of Lambeth residents will be going around the estates below over the coming days, encouraging tenants to use their vote and say NO to ALMO!

If you haven't been canvassing before, there's nothing to be frightened of! You'll be paired up with someone more experienced until you feel confident enough to approach people on your own. The reception we've had so far on doorsteps is that residents welcome us with open arms and are glad to hear the truth about ALMOs.

Please call Steve on 07944 293854 or email and let us know which days you'll be able to come along!

Wed 4th 6pm
Tulse Hill Estate, Brixton

Thur 5th 6pm
China Walk Estate, Kenningon

Fri 6th 6pm
Notre Dame Estate, Clapham

Sat 7th 11am
St Matthew's Estate, Brixton

Sun 8th 11am
Portobello Estate, Norwood

Mon 9th 6pm
Vauxhall Gardens Estate

Tue 10th 6pm
Streatham Hill Estate

Wed 11th 6pm
William Bonney Estate, Clapham

Thu 12th 6pm
Fenwick Estate, Stockwell

Fri 13th 6pm
Deronda Estate, Norwood

Sat 14th 11am
Canterbury Gardens Estate, Brixton

Sun 15th 11am
Westbury Estate, Clapham

Friday, 29 June 2007

Why you should say NO to ALMO

Lambeth Defend Council Housing public meeting

  • Tuesday 3 July

  • 7pm to 9pm

  • St Vincent’s Community Centre, Talma Road, Brixton (click here for a map)

Don’t vote until you’ve heard both sides of the argument!

Come to our meeting to hear the case against setting up an ALMO and to find out what you can do to help the campaign to stop it.

Austin Mitchell MP, Chair of the House of Commons council housing group, and Lesley Carty from the national Defend Council Housing campaign will be speaking about the national fight to win the “Fourth Option” of Direct Investment in Council Housing.

Click here to download a poster

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Vote NO to ALMO!

The ballot paper that Lambeth Council have issued at ridiculously short notice is confusing to say the least!

The important thing to remember is that it’s only the fourth question that matters. The other “survey questions” will have no bearing on whether the Council forms an ALMO or not – and are not even fair questions anyway!

Make sure you use your vote to say NO to ALMO, and that your friends and neighbours do the same!

If you can, print out some posters and stick them up around your estate!

Saturday, 23 June 2007

ALMO ballot underway - vote no!

Both Tenant and Leasehold Council's voted for a single question ballot. Disgracefully Lambeth Council officers have chosen a four question format. The wording of the questions has not been made available but we will find out soon enough.

The 'test of opinion' PPCR organised for the United Residents Housing ALMO (a mini-ALMO comprised of several Tenant Management Organisations*) had the following questions:
  1. Have you heard about United Residents Housing (yes/no/don't know)
  2. Are you aware that URH will not affect your tenancy or lease - you will remain a tenant or leaseholder of the Council? (yes/no/don't know)
  3. Do you know about the improvements that URH intends to make to homes on your estate and to the estate in general? (yes/no/don't know)
  4. Would you support setting up URH to deliver these improvements? (yes/no/don't know)
  5. Have you got any other comments about URH?
  6. Would you be prepared to let URH contact you at regular intervals to find out what you think of URH and your RMO and the services they both deliver? (yes/no/don't know - if yes please supply your contact details)
These were clearly leading questions. There is a clear implication that only supporting the creation of URH will result in improvements. Needless to say URH has not delivered any improvements and has asked for it's inspection to be delayed until July 2008 (at least a two-star performance rating is needed for the extra funding to be made available).

I think we can expect a similar 'ballot' for the current Lambeth wide ALMO.

Given the shifting national political picture, with all six Labour deputy leadership candidates supporting the fourth option of direct investment, and Gordon Brown saying he has an 'open mind' on the issue, a moratorium on all proposed stock transfer, PFI and ALMO schemes would be best.

In the meantime every vote against stock transfer, PFI and ALMO proposals is a further nail in the coffin of government's attempts to privatise social housing.

Lambeth DCH urge all residents and leaseholders to vote against the ALMO proposal and to join us in our campaign for direct investment in council housing.

* Blenheim Gardens RMO, Loughborough EMB, Roupell Park Resident Management Co-operative and Waltham RMO

Thursday, 21 June 2007

What do leaseholders in Streatham think?

At a meeting on Tuesday 19 June eleven Streatham leaseholders patiently listened to representatives from PPCR (Lorane Ophelia) and Lambeth Council (David Thompson and Gabriel Brown) present how the proposed ALMO would be of benefit to them.

Or not, as it turned out.

The meeting invite, authored by Peter Redman--Divisional Director, Housing Management and Property Services--sought to assure us of the key principles Lambeth will adopt:
  • Leaseholders will have a say in investment plans.
  • We will always consult with you before incurring costs.
  • We will work with you to ensure that any investment you make contributes to adding value to your dwelling.
  • We will investigate ways of offering you the benefit of bulk discounts on the supplies and contracts we use
  • We will provide easier ways for payment for those on the lowest incomes
Upon questioning Council officers could not support these claims. Taking the points one at a time:
  • We already have a say in investment plans through existing democratic structures: our local Residents Associations, Area Forums and Leasehold Council. At present leaseholders can refuse internal works. Any future ALMO will only follow the statutory consultation process for exterior works (e.g. roofs and windows).
  • As above, officers confirmed that only the legal minimum (so-called 'Section 20 Notice') statutory consultation process will apply.
  • It is unlikely that roofing and window works would significantly add to the value of leaseholders dwellings (buyers kind-of expect a wind and water tight property).
  • Would anyone VOLUNTARILY invite Lambeth's contractors into their homes to replace a kitchen or bathroom?
  • There will be no improvement to the current payment regime; a strange mixture of incompetence (no attempt at collecting money) and legal threats and bullying. The maximum twenty-four month installment plan will remain and leaseholders will continue to sell-up or arrange expensive additional credit (if they can get it).
So there we have it. More lies and half-truths. Absolutely no benefit moving to the ALMO. Just a recipe for more cost, secrecy (sorry that information is 'commercially sensitive') and buck-passing.

Vote no, stick with Lambeth and join the campaign for the 'Fourth Option' of direct investment. At a national level all six Labour Party deputy leadership candidates support the Fourth Option and Gordon Brown reportedly has 'an open mind'. Let's keep fighting!

Friday, 8 June 2007

Lobby Cabinet on Monday

Lambeth Council's Cabinet are meeting on Monday 11 June. The ALMO is top of the agenda.

Join tenants and leaseholders from across the borough in demonstrating outside the Town Hall — show the council that we are not going to stand for two-stage privatisation of council housing!

Click here to download a poster for the lobby.