Present: Sighthill United Tenants And Residents Association; Maxwell Residents Association; Knightswood Residents Group; Cartntyne and Riddrie Tenants Action Group; Gallowgate Residents Group; Cedar Tenants Association; Castlemilk Ex-Local Authority Homeowners Association; Govanhill Community Council, plus numerous Glasgow residents. Around forty individuals in total.
Chair: Sean Clerkin
Minutes: E. Nelson
# Introductions and welcome
# Minutes of the last meeting and matters arising
# Procedures for network meetings
# Discussion of Thursday 22nd Demonstration and followup
# Area Reports & reportbacks
# Arrangements for conference
# Arrangements for next meeting
— Introductions and welcome
Everyone introduced themselves – sederunt available to attendees.
— Minutes of the last meeting and matters arising
The chair asked if anybody had any points to raise relevant to the last meeting did they want to raise them now or under Any Other Business.
Minutes of the last meeting were then proposed by Nick Durie and seconded by Iain MacInnes as true and accurate.
— Procedures for network meetings
There followed for discussion procedures for networking and the process of rotating the chair so that no one or two people were carrying the burden.
Nick Durie thought that rotating the chair was a good idea but it should really be a group and not individuals as individuals may not be abl;e to attend.
Stewart Petrie then said we had to decide why we were here today and we should set objectives and perhaps get legal advice. There should be no rigid structure because there is a common aim here by the way we have been treated by the GHA and Glasgow City Council which is common to all of us.
Nick Durie said we all have had bad experiences by the GHA who are not prepared to negotiate. At the conference back in April it was decided we all have to get together to fight this.
Sean Clerkin re-iterated what Nick Durie had said.
There were 2 proposals made:-
1. Rotating Chair
2. Taken on by groups.
Both points were agreed and seconded.
Someone then asked if the meetings were going to be monthly. This was again agreed.
The charter was brought up – to evolve after the report. Sean Clerkin said was open for anyone to join.
— Discussion of Thursday 22nd demonstration and followup
On Thursday’s demonstration [22nd June] we had written to Michael Lennon and handed in a letter requesting a meeting. Secondly a meeting of Home Owners and Tenants was arranging to go to the Scottish Parliament but because of the Parliament breaking up for holidays there was not enough time to arrange this. It was then decided that a press conference would be better with Sandra White the SNP MSP chairing this in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 28th June at 2pm to hear what the homeowners and tenants had to say and it would be taking place in Room MNL 20/22. Television and Media coverage would be there sitting in the Scottish Parliament so we must follow up on Thursday’s demo. Sean asked for names of people who would be preparedd to go to the parliament and he noted the names of interested individuals. He said we should go as a group and it was arranged to meet in Waverley Raliway station concourse at Boots and WHSmith at 1pm and Sean said he would pay for the taxi. He said that individuals would be required to pay their own way. 9 people agreed to go. It was also stated that it was important that tenants were there.
Sean Clerkin also said that we should be non party political and that we are here to fight for the rights of tenants and homeowners as no choice was given either by the GHA or GCC. All this unites us and that is the reason we are here today. There has not been a true tenants and homeowners citywide organisation for some time and it as an ideal we should be working towards such an organisation.
A homeowner Irene then spoke about the City Council acting illegally. The lady spoke about insurance and said it was not in her deed and conditions and it as illegal for GHA to impose this mandatory insurance upon us. She said that ESure and Direct Line could do the same job for eight pounds a month for a four-in-a-block when the GHA were charging well in excess of this.
Iain MacInnes said that tenants were lied to and homeowners told nothing in regard to the transfer of housing stock and in relation to Stewart Petrie’s charter idea he said he had taken on the taks at 8th April of drawing up a report and it was continuing to work on it but because of the pressure of his day job it was taking longer but was progressing and as soon as it was ready it would be posted out and sent by email as widely as to members and as widely as possible.
Stewart Petrie replied to Irene who said the transfer of the housing stock was illegal and was now in the hands of the ombudsman.
An individual metioned the YMCA and the Red Road tower blocks and what was happening there and after a report Stewart Petrie said we have not to get side-tracked into issues we can’t yet deal with and for now should stick to the main objectives.
The chair then asked for a discussion on what we thought of Thursday’s demonstration.
One individual thought that not enough people had turned up and a few said they did not know about the demonstration. Sean then said that 15,000 leafets had been distributed and he was sorry not everyone knew. It was proposed that another demonstration be organised. Some areas of the last one were hugely sucessful but the media let us down. It was a success but the Glasgow Herald and Evening Time totally ignored us and the only paper to take it up was the Sunday Post which hopefully will cover the event but there were no guarrantees.
Sean raised Martin Heskith’s legal case and said it was going to be a test case. He felt it would raise lots of avenues ragrdubg monies already paid and work still to be done.
A homeowner asked if the billing was legal as it said that the work had to be paid up front before it could be carried out and as it stood he did not know of anyone who had paid up front. Another lady said that the grant money was paid direct to the GHA and that was how they got round the ‘payment up front.’
Iain MacInnes said legal advice should be taken and that people whould take the GHA to court before they took you to court. The cost of this was discussed and the meeting was advised that there were places like Govan Law Centre etc., who would give advice for free if your circumstance warranted this.
Stewart Petrie said that we must organise ourselves to take a test case to court. We must have solidiarity.
— Area Reports & reportbacks
CARTAG spoke first and said they had a meeting to which 60 people turned up. He said that one tenant had been taken to court for not paying an amount of 250 pounds which should have been billed in installments, but GHA had waited and billed it in one go. She could not pay it and ended up having her furniture repossesed. Another homeowner ended up losing her home. Apparently someone at the meeting stood up and said that the GHA were a quango and they could so as they liked even to the point of taking their houses away.
C.E.L.A.H.A. declined to give a report in order to save time.
Stewart Petrie from Maxwell Residents Association spoke about Gordon Jackson the MSP who is taking up cases on behalf of their association. Stewart said that if you adopt GCC’s constitution you can get a start up grant from them for 250 pounds. He mentioned that his group is holding a meeting on the 18th of July with Communities Scotland.
Nick Durie then gave a report of an article about the lift situation in his area in the evening times and also gave a report of a demonstration that had been happening on the same day as our protest about bus service cuts to Milton.
Iain MacInnes the spoke about the rent restructuring review and said that to his mind that is a contravention of the Rent Act. It will mean that rent arrangements will change forever. He wants tenants and homeowners to get together on this. GHA are proposing to increase rents to ‘market private providers’ rates in 2008 and whilst they propose more rent there are also plans by the government to slash housing benefit, which will affect many people.
2 items were discussed:-
Item one: the room rental for the meeting – please leave a donation if possible.
Item two: a donation of 50 pounds to the Haringey Federation of Residents Associations. Sean said he would look at this.
Sean Clerkin said to take the campaign forward individual associations would require to ask for donations at their meetings.
— Arrangements for conference
There was to be a conference toward enhancing the network/working towards a federation on the 16th of September, 12 noon until 4pm. Several venues were bveing looked at. Renfield St. Stephen’s church, the Quakers meeting halls where this meeting was being held and Partick Burgh Halls. Iain McInnes was still looking at this and Sean asked everyone if they had a preference. It was decided that Renfield St. Stephen’s church could be approached.
The items to be discussed at the conference to a largel extent wohuld b e shaped by the report Iain MacInnes is working on.
— Any other business
Nick Durie said that a website had been set up. http://www.glasgowresidents.wordpress.com and anyone who had anything of interest to report should let him know or 079 106 279 70 and it could be put up on the site. Stewart Petrie suggested he put on the web how to get a ‘start up pack’ and this was agreed. People who wanted to be a moderator should contact Nick on the above number.
Sean said we had to be very careful waht went up on the site and Nick reassured him it would be monitored very carefully.
Jim spoke again saying that there were people from Milton involved in this demonstration about bus service cuts who we were not in touch with. There was a general feeling that the network was not just about housing but about community issues across Glasgow altho at the moment housing is our priority.
Sean reiterated his call for everyone to come to the press conference on Wednesday. Stewart Petrie brought up the redevelopment problems and said that in his area old age pensioner average deaths before the work was planned were between 3 to 4 per year and since the 29th of August when the work started this had risen to 14 deaths in elderly people. He also stated that Dr Helena Irvine was now committed to research the deaths.
— Arrangements for the next meeting
There was discussion of when the next meeting should be. It was decided that the 29th of July at 1pm in the same hall would suit. Everyone agreed.
Chair for the next meeting was decided to be Nick Durie, Cedar Tenants Association