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Flintshire Against Stock Transfer group accused of ‘scaremongering’

A CAMPAIGN group which is urging council tenants to vote no to a housing stock transfer has been accused of ‘scaremongering’.

Speaking in the Assembly Chamber, North Wales AM Mark Isherwood condemned Flintshire Against Stock Transfer, a group made up of Labour Party campaigners, tenants and trade union representatives.

The group is urging council residents to vote no in a ballot which will decide whether council houses are transferred to registered social landlord Dee Housing.

Mr Isherwood said: “Labour politicians are using scaremongering and misinformation to frighten Flintshire’s council house tenants into voting against stock transfer. They are threatening to condemn them to unfit housing and to deny them for years to come the wider regeneration potential that stock transfer to a not-for-profit community housing mutual can bring.”

But Flintshire Labour party leader Cllr Aaron Shotton said: “It comes as no surprise a Tory AM is an advocate of the end of Flintshire council housing.

“Flintshire Against Stock Transfer is a campaign with broad community support and is simply informing tenants of the risks associated with stock transfer. In line with the principles of democracy, surely it is only right and proper that tenants make an informed decision, based on the two sides of the argument in this case.”

Cllr Shotton said the campaigning councillors have also been warned they may not be able to vote in the final decision on the result of the ballot.

County council chief executive Colin Everett said: “Elected members have been given advice on their conduct during the housing ballot, to protect both the council and the members themselves from risk of complaints against their conduct.

“Members, except those in senior positions of responsibility for housing services and the housing ballot, are free to campaign for or against.

“At the recent meeting of council when agreement was passed to go to the final stages of the ballot this advice was given to councillors.

“Councillors have since been reminded of their duties of public office, which include fairly explaining the facts to tenants and avoiding unduly pressurising tenants to vote one way or the other, and of the importance of being seen to have an open mind when the outcome of the full ballot is reported back to the full council for consideration later in March.”

Cllr Shotton said: “Over the last few weeks the council, so-called independent tenants advisers and certain Tory AMs have attempted to discredit the Flintshire Against Stock Transfer campaign and now I and my fellow Labour councillors are faced with an anti-democratic attempt to exclude us from taking part in any council decision regarding housing.

“The Labour group is seeking legal advice to challenge the ruling.”