This is a letter to the Swindon Advertiser

Tenants will shortly be receiving, if they haven’t already, what is said to be “an independent newsletter for tenants and leaseholders”, Number 5. Don’t be conned by this pro-sell off propaganda. I was told by the Council officer who sent it to me that it is “a DWA newsletter”. DWA is the so-called “independent tenant advisor” employed and paid for by the Council. As the olde syaing goes, he who pays the piper plays the tune.

Tenants should be aware that DWA was chosen from a shortlist of ONE company. It’s true that some tenants were involved in the selection of DWA, but the choice they had was DWA or nobody! The Council was keen to have them after they did such a good job for them (as opposed to the tenants) in 2009.

As anybody can see from reading this newsletter it simply repeats the propaganda of the Council. There is no information in it which contradicts the pro-sell off position. In producing such a biased newsletter DWA has been shown to be part of the Council’s campaign for a Yes vote.

The newsletter is said to have been edited by 2 tenants who are members of the “Resident’s Engagement Group”. Yet the REG is supposed to be neutral on whether or not to sell our houses . So how come it’s members can “edit” a newsletter which is so obviously in favour of selling our homes?

DWA makes most of its money from working for Housing Associations. It’s Director is on the Board of several of them. They have a potential interest in a new Housing Association coming into being which may give them work in the future.

How can DWA be considered to be ‘impartial’ when they are not even prepared to correct a Council Officer when he says something which is not true? The Director of Housing told the Advertiser that DWA has told Swindon Tenants Campaign Group to “withdraw” a leaflet which was “misleading”. The Director of DWA confirmed this was not true, yet when asked to issue a statement correcting the Council officer, they have failed to do so.

Despite the Council’s massive propaganda campaign, however, tenants still have the chance to stop the selling of our homes by voting No to transfer in the ballot which will take place. If a majority of us vote NO then we will continue as Council tenants.

Martin Wicks

Swindon Tenants Campaign Group