NPF Reports review: Housing

Housing, which was covered by the Communities policy commission, is now incorporated within the Housing, Local Government and Transport Policy Commission. It has met three times between February and April.  Given the breadth of this remit, there appear to only have been a limited focus on housing issues. According to the annual report, concern about the Right to Buy scheme was mentioned at the first meeting apparently because this was the focus of motions passed at the 2016 conference. The second meeting discussed the impact of leaving the EU on housing. The third meeting was attended by Eileen Short from Defend Council Housing and Alistair Smith from the National Housing Federation. This discussed the powers of councils to tackle rogue landlords, the need for public land to be used to build social and council housing and how to help first time buyers onto the housing ladder. The policy commission does not appear to have met since the general election. As the election was unexpected, there was no time for the Commission to meet to discuss the manifesto, though regional and local government members were phoned for comments. Continue reading

What’s the scandal at Surrey County Council?

ad_221423652_e1475423881572Local government finance isn’t the sexiest subject in politics, but it should be right up there. Councils provide the services and maintain the infrastructure all our communities, whether heavily urbanised or scattered across the countryside, depend on. And the demented cuts the government have foisted on councils have stripped services to the bone, and most noticeably precipitated an adult social care crisis that has seen the displacement of vulnerable people who should be managed by social services into hospital wards reeling under the impact of staffing and resource shortages. Continue reading

Calls for East End Labour MP’s suspension after racism row

towerhamletslogoA Labour MP has faced calls for his suspension following remarks that allegedly breach the guidelines on racism within the Labour party set out by its recent review.

Jim Fitzpatrick, the MP for Poplar and Limehouse, dismissed an ongoing debate in his local party about selecting candidates as the “same old worst of Bengali politics” in a social media post on November 2nd.

The tweet referred to an ongoing party procedure that decides whether the sitting Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, has to win a vote among members of his local party before becoming the Labour candidate for the 2018-22 term. Continue reading

Winning in the South: Jez we can.

corbyn reesThe election results from Bristol came in over the weekend, and it is worth reflecting the degree to which they demonstrate significant advance, particularly as Labour does need to win in the South of England.

Simon Woolley has already observed the enormous significance of a mayor of Afro-Caribbean heritage being directly elected in a city whose wealth was built on the crime of slavery, and where racial division has many times cast a long shadow over the city’s history.

The mayoral incumbent, the Independent George Ferguson, was swept aside by a tsunami of support for Labour. Marvin Rees (LAB): 63.5% George Ferguson (Bristol First): 36.5% Continue reading

Local Elections in England – Reasons to be Cheerful

David Cameron's interpretation: "Labour has lost touch with those they are supposed to represent"

David Cameron’s interpretation: “Labour has lost touch with those they are supposed to represent”

Even before the polls had closed, the attacks from Corbyn’s opponents had started. It didn’t matter what the actual results were – the narrative had been set already. Lord Kinnock, that fount of wisdom on electoral success, opined in Prospect magazine that the leadership’s policies “are an impediment to getting the kind of support we need”. Neil Coyle MP pre-briefed BBC Newsnight that Labour was “moving further away” from election victory under 2020 under Corbyn. Continue reading