WOULD you sell your house for £4,286?

Because that is what campaigners claim the council will be paid for each of its houses, under a scheme to transfer them into the hands of housing association.

As part of the planned stock transfer, which would shift all 10,500 council homes into the ownership of the not-for-profit organisation, the new owner would pay £45m to the council – working out at just under £4,286 per house.

But the figure has been described as misleading by the council’s housing boss.

The news comes just as a new campaign is launched to fight against the stock transfer , via the internet and on the doorsteps of the town’s thousands of council homes.

Andy Newman, head of the GMB union which is helping to bankroll the campaign against the stock transfer, said: “The value Swindon gets for them is far below market value. What the council is doing is looking for short-term advantage in selling them off.

“Even if they are only worth £100,000 each, they are selling them off at a fraction of the value in order to make short-term savings.

“Essentially it’s a profitable business but they’re selling it off for less than the value.”

A mass leafleting campaign will begin this weekend, in which anti-stock transfer activists are expected to state that “the Conservatives would rather sell £1bn worth of Swindon housing for just £45m”.

And Labour’s finance chief councillor Des Moffatt (Western) said: “When councils are transferring housing out of council ownership into a housing association, there are rules that have been set by the government about how much the receiving authority (housing association) should pay the disposing authority (council) for the stock.

“The assets that are publicly owned by Swindon Borough Council now are useful and viable assets, being transferred for £45m.

“The formula is set by Whitehall, not by Swindon Borough Council.

“To the layman it seems ridiculous that houses are being transferred out of public ownership at £4,000 a unit, but that’s the truth.”

But he added: “It’s all detailed and technical. You could count the number of people that understand it on the fingers of one hand.”

Bernie Brannan, the council’s housing director, said: “It’s absolutely misleading. It’s nothing to do with any of the arguments.

“With the anti- campaign, the independent tenant advisor has already asked them to withdraw one leaflet because it’s misleading. There are people going round putting stuff out that hasn’t been checked by anyone.

“£45m is just the value of the business. We are not selling their houses because all we’re doing is transferring ownership of it. I have no issues if tenants wish to stay with the council, that’s fine. My concern is just that they get the right factual information.

“To start bringing in the value of the housing stock is just misleading. If it sounds like the council is undercutting the value of the stock for some reason, that’s just not true.”

The council will meet tomorrow to discuss the plans.