Friday, 2 May 2008

Policy consultation - time for radical new legislation on social housing

Since writing the last post on workers' rights, the results have come in. We've all had a terribly disappointing day. The London results are still coming in as I type, but they are not looking promising.

The one glimmer of light I can see is that lots of people in the movement are saying the same thing: we need to come back fighting, and we need to do that through having a raft of radical policies that will have a clear impact on the lives of our voters who have sent us such a clear message in the last 24 hours.

We have an opportunity to promote these policies through the policy consultation. As well as the workers' rights proposals, we should be able to build a massive consensus around the 4th option re: council housing, which is the agreed policy of the Labour Party and the TUC and was supported by a broad array of MPs in parliament. I've taken a proposed text from an EDM:

The Labour government will legislate for direct investment in decent, affordable, secure and accountable council housing, to provide housing needs for that large proportion of people who are unable to get onto the ownership ladder. We will enable local authorities to improve all council homes and start the necessary programme of building new council houses to meet housing need (allowing council houses to ring-fence rents and capital for investment in housing stock). In this way we will ensure respect for tenants' choice, stimulate the economy, enable democratically elected local authorities to get on with their job and meet our 2005 election manifesto commitment to ensure that all social tenants benefit from a decent warm home with modern facilities by 2010.

I would welcome comments from people - especially those involved in the Defend Council Housing campaign to improve that text. Then let's get as many CLPs and union branches as possible to propose it.


Robert said...

Think of all the houses you will have from Flints kick them out if they do not work, think of all the disabled people who will perhaps be kicked out for refusing to work, I've looked around the forums blogs and sites to day I've seen people talk about a lot of things except the Welfare reforms.

Today in a news paper benefits cheat gets away with warning after working as a school chef, funny last year my disability employment adviser said to me you can cook for kids, lucky the council said sorry we cannot afford to lower our kitchens for wheelchairs.

but never mind you keep looking one day you will say god I wish now I'm disabled we had a welfare state. in the mean time I will leave bloggers and Labour party officials to get on with killing a once proud party.

Duncan Hall said...

Robert, doing something about council housing is not an alternative to defending the welfare state - indeed it is a very important part of it.

What would you like to see us do about the welfare reforms? I'm up for most things! I've raised the question in a few quarters about whether the PCS union could threaten to refuse to implement the new regulations. I've contacted a few MPs on the subject. We need a big statement on the welfare state and legislation to protect the welfare state, and that can come in this policy consultation. But we need to stop these new regulations coming in in the Autumn, and challenging that has to be more radical than a policy consultation.

Robert said...

Boy you know something make no mistake I've been in Labour for a very long time until two years ago, when even my local MP failed to answer my questions. Lucky the GMB have seen the light otherwise I'd have left them.

I'm not a new hand at this, I've been at it a long time, I get asked often to go onto Radio, or TV, not to long ago I sat in a studio with Professor Mansel Alyward Labours Welfare adviser, the same bloke also works for Unum Provident, the company who will be forcing people back to work, do not forget the word forced because although they will get a £1.75 Billion contract, the profits will come from getting £60,000 for each disabled person into work, the money will be graded so if the cripple works a year the full amount will be paid out.

The green papers gone through, the white papers gone through and is now law, so stopping this will mean another green paper another white paper and the Tories having the biggest field day in Labour history.

What we can do is make amendment to this, if you like add on.

What a lot of people do not understand the protection from disabled people have been removed.

Ok if your disabled lets say with massive cancer your only protected when you have six months left to live, Labour wants this to become more strict, if a doctor says look you have a brain tumor and you will live another year, then the person must work six months.

Exemption is the area in which Labour can act now, Labour in May 2007 removed all exemptions for work except the six months cancer rule, and if you have a communicable illness which you can spread to others.

In the past the rules stated this , if you got High rate of the Disability living allowance for care, in other words your so disabled that the government pays you an extra amount of money so you can buy care, it's known to us as DLA, you were exempted from working. people with severe and I mean severe disabilities like no legs, and suffering a mental illness, people who have brain injuries, people who came back from the military because this affects them as well, who have high levels of stress depressive illness, people dying of cancer. well you know the most serious.

Well that exemption has been removed, this can be reinstated without having to much trouble, and it would stop the Tories from having a field day.

Do not forget what Ms Flint stated about people who refuse to work, they should lose the right to have a home, she included the disabled in this.

You cannot stop the new laws they are in, you can reinstate the rules which protect the most disabled people by reinstating the protection of the high rate of care protection.

Also to get back to council housing the right to buy has to stop otherwise we will be going through all this again, building social housing should not be about building homes to sell, the market place does this, if somebody wants to buy a home then go onto the open market, we should have a stock of houses which are to rent only. In my area we have 150 houses which are boarded up because the council says it cannot afford to repair them, so sell these off to the market or better still off peple ten years free rent and council tax if they do them up to live in. I would take a house do it up live in it rent free for ten years it would be worth it. costs the council nothing and yet they get 150 houses paying council tax.