Wiltshire

Swindon council tenants vote against housing transfer

Tenants in Swindon have voted against selling off 10,500 council houses to a private housing association.

Turnout for Swindon Borough Council's secret ballot was 65% and 72% of tenants voted against the plans.

Cabinet member Russell Holland said: "The council's view was that there were benefits to transfer but it was up to the tenants to decide how to vote."

The Labour opposition has welcomed the result and has criticised the council for wasting money in a "costly ballot".

The Conservative-led council had wanted to sell off its homes in order to save money.

'Extra borrowing'

Because of the result, the council has said it will now have to borrow and pay an extra £139.6m to the government in a "self-financing system".

It also said less money would be available for the maintenance of its 10,500 homes over the next 10 years.

Director for housing, leisure, libraries and culture Bernie Brannan said: "The extra borrowing we'll have to take on under the new housing finance system will limit the amount of money the council has to spend on improving homes and services over the next 10 years.

"But we will of course continue to do our very best to provide the highest standards possible within the resources available to us."

A total of 8,402 tenants took part in the ballot which ran from 1 to 30 December.

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