Thursday, 28 August 2014

Labour members to vote on housing policies

Tens of thousands of grassroots Labour members have demanded that the party hold a major debate on housing at this year’s party conference in Manchester.

They have voted housing as one of the top issues they are concerned about and in which they would like to see a dramatic change of direction from the government.

The result of a ballot of grassroots members, announced at the conference on Sunday, revealed that 70,354 members wanted to debate housing this week. Only health and social care was thought to be a more pressing issue, with 80,170 votes.

More delegates wanted to talk about housing policy than banking, growth and jobs, employment rights or coming up with an alternative to the coalition’s current economic policies.

The result of the ballot means that delegates will vote on a housing motion at this week’s conference.

The motion will set out housing policies that members want the Labour Party - and the government - to adopt (or drop). Constituency Labour groups are currently locked in negotiations to produce a single motion that they are all happy to sign up to - a process known as compositing. The results of the negotiations should be known later today.

There are, however, a number of key concerns common to many of the draft motions submitted by grassroots Labour groups so far.

Most delegates want to see a large-scale, publicly funded affordable housing programme. Eleven constituency Labour Parties, including Crawley, Lewisham Deptford, Tottenham and Weaver Vale , said that they were: ‘Concerned about the increased emphasis by both the Tory government and the Labour Party on the private sector as a solution to the housing crisis and the low level of funding they are prepared to commit to social housing.’

A number of constituency parties also want the motion to express concern about recent coalition proposals for further reform of the planning system by allowing developers to seek to renegotiate section 106 agreements.

The Ealing Central and Acton constituency party submitted a motion stating that the conference should oppose ‘the relaxation of negotiated section 106 housing development as there is no clear evidence that this is holding back development. In fact, the evidence is that it actually helps to kick start developments due to release of Homes and Communities Agency grants’.

Readers' comments (9)

  • Iron Fist

    Some sensible ideas but didn't the Labour Party stop listening to its grass roots membership years ago?

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  • Chris

    They can composite opposing views, concepts and ideas to create a monster motion that will be agreed and the leadership can do whatever they want and still be following the decision of conference. It used to be a poor compromise originally, but after the master of the dark arts corrupted the consitution even further to ensure that Tory Blair would never be opposed then it made conference a complete non-event and reduced the membership to battle fodder.

    If ever there was a time to detoryise the Labour Party it is now, but that would take brave a leadership that believed in democracy and the equality of members.

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  • News of 'no grant on S106 sites' still yet to filter through to Labour Party members......

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  • There are so many votes to be gained with housing. How many on the waiting list for a council flat nationally? Is it five million? There are 22,000 on the list in Camden alone. It's not inertia that stops voters voting, it's complete loss of hope.
    Can Labour deliver? Can it promise to deliver, then deliver on its promises and have five million voters believe them?

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  • The Labour Party only care about what the people want now their are not in power. They had ample time to listen to the people and act when they were in power yet banking regulation, the welfare system, public sector pensions, the public finances, and our place in Europe were all ignored.

    That's why we are now European poodles, drowning under a mountain of debt, have enormous future liabilities to pay public sector pensions, and fork out for millions of people who think it's better to rake in benefits than go out and work.

    Until Labour admit their past mistakes and apologise for the mess they left, they will never be credible.

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  • Don't forget folks - its New Labour- the self proclaimed party for ALL the people i.e. social housing tenants are a minority constituency and will never have their interests prioritised-the fact that they have no housing policy outside soundbites speaks volumes

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  • Peter Wicks

    I have been a socialist all of my voting life(75) and in this time I have only seen one real true socialist government and that was Clem Atlee in 1945 who created the welfare state by the simple means of taking from the rich and giving to the poor....Ed Miliband eluded to the sprite of 1945 but steered well clear of the word "nationalization"..which would have scared the hell out the super rich who continue to live high on the hog from the shares they gobbled up when Thatcher sold the family silver..I am still a socialist, but one speech by Ed does not make him a leader...the people are still listening for clues...

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  • Interesting that Labour members can distance themselves so quickly from the disaster that was the last Labour Government.

    They may not even have noticed that Gordon Brown announced the end of large scale house building programmes before the 2010 General Election. That isstatement represents the real views of the Labour leadership. They are all still there; Milliband, Balls, Liam 'There's no money left' Byrne - now Labour's Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (do these guys even do irony?).

    Balls is only using the £3 billion as a symbol to embarass the coalition - he knows it will be committed before 2015 and he won't have to say no to using it for housing.

    Why not commit to cancelling Trident and use that money for some productive use? Now, that would be radical and would indicate that they are serious about changing their ways.

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  • Chris

    P Badly - a correction is needed in your historical account. Large scale social house building ceased following the announcement of the new local government financial settlement in 1983.

    True, Blue Labour under Tory Blair did nothing to correct this disasterous action, and so share in the blame for the current housing crisis that resulted from a failure to build and the selling off of the stock - but do not try to rewrite history by suggesting this all occured in the last years of the last government. To do so would be a huge injustice to those who have gone without housing for 30-years!

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