A total of £70 million will have to be found to bring Brighton city council's housing stock up to stringent Government standards by 2010.

However, Brighton and Hove City Council say it does not have the money and campaigners are demanding it makes a decision on the future of its housing stock before the May election.

Last year, the council commissioned consultants HACAS Chapman Hendry to look at options for the future of its housing.

Experts say it needs to find £70 million to meet the new Decent Homes Standard by 2010.

Councillors commissioned another survey of its housing stock to determine the exact cost of improvements and say they cannot make any decision on the future of council homes until that report is complete, which could be in July.

Dave Barnard, of Moulsecoomb, Brighton, is one resident who wants the homes to stay under the council's control.

He is calling for a decision to be made before the elections and said the council should stop hiding behind the condition report.

Mr Barnard, chairman of the Moulsecoomb East Social Activities and Tenants Association, said: "All these councillors who are up for election should make a decision and hold a debate in the council chamber on the future of council homes.

"They are happy to rest on their laurels until the report comes out.

"The report is not important.

"They could still state where they stand on the future of the homes."

Mr Barnard believes the future for ordinary families living in the city is for the council's 13,000 homes to remain under council management.

Labour councillor Francis Tonks, who represents the Moulsecoomb ward, is chairman of the north and east area panel and also sits on the tenants consultation body.

Coun Tonks said he will fight to keep council homes under the authority's control.

He said: "The feeling I get from talking to people is that they feel the same way.

"We are democratically elected and are accountable to represent what people want.

"The problem is, we are waiting for the condition survey."

Supporters of the Defend Council Housing organisation in Brighton and Hove, have also been protesting outside Parliament in recent months in an attempt to get the Government to protect council homes.