Magazine article Public Finance

Sefton Launches 'Corruption' Inquiry after Tenants Reject Housing Transfer

Magazine article Public Finance

Sefton Launches 'Corruption' Inquiry after Tenants Reject Housing Transfer

Article excerpt

Sefton Borough Council this week launched an inquiry into a controversial housing transfer ballot after allegations of corruption, bribery and intimidation.

Tenants voted against handing over 12,400 homes to a not-for-profit association, One Vision, last week. Polls conducted by the council before the vote indicated that just 7% of tenants were against the proposed transfer, while 60% were in favour. But 55% of tenants voted 'no' last week.

The joint Liberal Democrat/Labour controlled authority on Merseyside confirmed that it is investigating serious allegations that: tenants were intimidated into voting 'no; tenants were bribed to alter their vote; and bogus council housing officials persuaded residents to vote 'no'.

A high number of requests for additional ballot papers were lodged with the council, and a large number of duplicate ballot papers were used in the vote.

A council spokesman told Public Finance: At this stage we're not pointing fingers of blame at anyone or any group because of the extremely serious nature of these allegations. A full inquiry is under way.' Police have not been involved so far.

A statement released by the council on August 30 expressed 'surprise' at the result. …

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