Tory Lite Labour Council Endorse New 5 Year Local Connection Rule

Firstly of the 450 or so consulted, only 16 were homeless, which is 3%. This is wrong considering much of this legislation affects the homeless, especially the homelessness duty, which is affected by the Local Connection rule change.

When I say Tory lite, I mean this how it should be meant, the Tory Governement are currently destroying social housing and you guessed it Labour Councillors roll over to the unelected council officers demands by increasing the current 2 year rule on local connection for council housing waiting lists rising to 5 years.

Councillor Meadows said;

“Demand massively outstrips supply in the city so it’s right that our housing register recognises this huge demand, is realistic and prioritises those in greatest need.

The rise in luxory housing

Look down the coast down toward the Marina you see two new apartment blocks, aimed at the richest in society, there are plans for an even bigger tower, which will be much of the same.

Labour under Jeremy Corbyn will see a rise in council houses, these planning decisions are against the party direction now and must be stopped.

What is the proposal change in housing allocations

The report states that “Over the past 5 years the Housing Register has continued to grow and now stands at over 24,000 applicants. In the last financial year just over 800 properties were let to people on the Housing Register. Figures of the growth over the last 10 years are contained in table 1 below. The number of applications remained static for the period April 2007 to April 2010. From this point on there is an increase year on year to the end of the last financial year to 23,419.”

This is the current number of bands and length on the waiting list.

Housing Allocations Council List Brighton and Hove 2016

Whilst I acknowledge that there is a huge waiting list, but with rents so high, the councils and governments plan to put people in the Private Rental Sector is not workable and is in fact contributing to pushing up rents, its a simple supply and demand issue and we need to build more council housing.

Housing allocations proposals to strengthen focus on local need

A report going to Brighton & Hove City Council’s Housing & New Homes Committee on 21 September 2016 recommends updating the city’s housing allocations policy. Councillors will discuss proposals which aim to help ensure the council can house residents in the greatest housing need.

A consultation on the council’s allocations policy, carried out from December 2015 to February 2016, showed broad support from residents and partner organisations on the priorities for updating the scheme.

The main changes proposed aim to reduce the numbers on the housing register by limiting it to people in high housing need who do not have the means to satisfy and provide solutions for themselves, and strengthening the local residential connection requirement from two years to five, with some exemptions that we are legally required to have.

While the council allocates around 800 properties a year, the housing register continues to grow and has now over 24,000 applicants. With the high costs of managing such a large waiting list and a relatively few having a chance of housing, it’s recognised that the current scheme is not necessarily housing our residents in the most housing need. It also raises expectations that we are not able to meet.

Cllr Anne Meadows, Chair of the Housing & New Homes Committee, said: “Demand massively outstrips supply in the city so it’s right that our housing register recognises this huge demand, is realistic and prioritises those in greatest need.

“We are doing everything we can to provide new affordable homes in the city, including building 500 new council homes. However, it’s important to recognise that this is against a background of growing need, and we need a more efficient allocations scheme to help make sure we can focus on those residents who need it most.”

If approved, the new policy will be applied immediately to all new applications. All current applications will be reassessed under the new criteria, which is expected to take until March 2017.

The Other Main Changes To The Allocations Policy for Brighton and Hove City Council

The new draft allocations policy has made a number of key changes that were consulted on widely with residents, community group, service providers and applicants. The key changes are:

  • Change to local connection : increased to five years residency from the current two, with a number of exemptions required
  • Exclude people with no housing need under the allocations policy
  • Exclude home owners
  • Introduce an income cap based on bedroom size
  • Exclude people with rent arrears or other related debt to the council, with some exceptions?
  • Exclude people who have disposed of a property purchased from the council under the right to buy
  • Remove applicants if they have not made a bid within 12 months
  • Remove applicants who refuse one offer of suitable accommodation
  • Remove band C Minor Medical and Band C sharing facilities & Minor disrepair
  • Introduce anti fraud checks prior to offering a tenancy
  • Introduce a digital service for applications and other processes
  • Introduce an allocation plan
  • Introduce reciprocal agreements with other local authorities to allow increase social mobility.
  • Removal of working positive contribution due to a recent judicial review against another local authority.

Labour Brighton And Hove: The Meltdown of Democracy

There have been many reports in the local and national press in the last week or so in relation to the decision to suspend the Brighton and Hove District Labour Party.

Keep Corbyn Rally

Organised by Momentum, the rally had over 600 people in attendance, not all were labour members, on the day there were people from all aspects of life who all came together for Jeremy Corbyn.

On the day I was volunteering, the event was really busy which meant we overflowed into outside area, Jon Rodgers, and Executive Committee candidates Greg Hadfield and Kate Knight were the billed speakers as well as Seema Chandwani, Secretary, Tottenham Labour Party.

Following the appalling treatment of our democratically elected leader Jeremy Corbyn, the Keep Corbyn rally was organised to galvanise support for Corbyn candidates at the AGM.

There was no defiant march from the rally as reported, simply a large number of people leaving one venue then travelling to the next a few hundred metres away.

The Historic Brighton and Hove District Labour Party AGM

I decided that I would put my hat in the ring for one of the 10 voting Executive Committee places, when I arrived I was a little nervous, since joining Labour last year, I have experienced hostility and kindness at the same time from members to the right of the party.

But spirits were good, as I got there I was shocked to see all the members old and new queuing, we have one of the largest CLP’s in the country in terms of membership numbers, 6000 in the Brighton and Hove area alone. People simply wanted to come out and exercise their right to vote, in total we think there were 700 or so that arrived.

I ensured anyone with accessibility needs were taken in first so they didn’t have to stand for long periods, the stewards on the day did an excellent job and members slowly filled up the venue.

As a candidate I would have been able to speak, but we all agreed prior to the meeting taking place that just the five Officer’s would speak. This was fine and agreed with everyone.

You could feel there was a pro Corbyn membership in attendance, the Corbyn candidates spoke well and at point the room erupted with cheer, however I heard just one heckle through the whole three sessions.

I saw no violence, votes were cast and then placed into buckets.

The AGM count

After the three sessions had concluded we started the count, there were ample counters and observers, there was tension in the room but people were professional and got on with the job at hand.

Councillor Emma Daniel and Mo Marsh were counting votes cast, I personally observed, there were no problems with the counts that took place on that day, when the results started coming out and it was clear that pro Corbyn candidates had over 65% of the vote share, some in the right of the party left the count.

We then went for a celebration drink locally, on the way out I spoke to staff who mentioned no incidents and said it went well, so you cannot blame me for questioning the reports of violence and spitting.

I Got Elected

On the following Wednesday I had heard that I was elected on to the EC, I was elated! People had told me before they were going to vote for me, but I was shocked at the number of votes that were cast for me.

Living in Emergency Accommodation in the City, being a previously looked after child and having bipolar I see as labels, what this result meant was that finally the vulnerable and voiceless had a member elected on the EC who could represent their needs within the local party and help to organise campaigns and get these disenfranchised people back into politics.

I have been fairly successful campaigning and highlighting Issues locally, yes I have disagreements with people, but thats politics.

Then I Got Kicked Off

On the Thursday It was all over, there had been some negative press put out by the right of the party, the Momentum candidates came under constant attack, which I believe to have been deliberately orchestrated to deny democracy, at the time of writing this there has been no allegations made to the police.

We they told me I was out, my heart sank, I thought it was all a joke, the elation lasted just 24 hours and was over, reality set in and I suddenly realised what people were saying was true, they said expect a fightback.

I just think of those care leavers who are living in Emergency Accommodation in the City, Kids abandoned by parents, often failed by their corporate parents and now left in what is like a prison to rot, I think about families who are on the breadline having to rely on food banks.

I think of the recent victims of LGBT hate crime in Brighton and Hove and those who are marginalised by employers for having a mental illness, these are the people who suffered on that day, not me.

What Next…

There is a leadership contest coming up within Labour, I will be supporting Jeremy Corbyn, he is the only candidate who I trust and believe can govern the country, he is bang on the money in terms of what he wants a labour governement to achieve and I feel the other candidates are simply there to take back control from the party elites.

Over the Next few days there will be an opportunity to Join the Labour Party as a supporter, there is a disgusting £25 to have a democratic say in this leadership contest and I fear the poor and vulnerable are priced out this time, just the people who Jeremy Appeals to, but this decision may be overturned and common sense prevails.

I will also fight to reclaim my election win and be a part of the administration which will energise people locally to reclaim the Labour Party as the peoples party, in recent years we have failed and lost core Labour supporters, I was brought up in Whitehawk, I lived in a council house and I had opportunities people today wont get, its those people who motivate me to succeed.

Recent Media Links

Why Labour in Brighton and Hove Needs To Change

Having joined the BHDLP last year following a particularly harrowing time in my life when I have felt disconnected from mainstream politics, energised by current exploitation and my own personal experiences, Labour’s Leader Jeremy Corbyn was the man who made me stand up, campaign and fight for vulnerable peoples rights.

Having bi-polar has its own challenges, but my principled values and honest no nonsense approach to politics, does show my vulnerability, which others have tried to exploit, I see my weaknesses seen by some in fact as strengths to others.

Check me out on the vote discussing housing and how I would change this in the city.

2016 provides many challenges for someone like me, living in emergency accommodation in the city, accessing some of our services for the vulnerable and working closely with those affected by housing issues, drugs and alcohol recovery, sexual abuse, care leavers and those affected by mental health and LGBT issues means I am able to listen to peoples concerns and ensure these voices are heard on the exec of the local labour party.

Me campaigning on the BBC Victoria Derbyshire Programme for Care Leavers and Mental Health

There are many new members who have joined the BHDLP, people from all walks of life wanting to improve their lives and change politics through the power of people, we have seen the rise of socialist movements all across Europe, and in some ways we are trailing behind, but now is the time to make our voices heard.

People will change Brighton and Hove, without people we have no economy, people are vital for raising tax revenues, people start businesses and employ staff, people shape the country, no matter where they come from and what sexuality they choose.

I am determined that people should hold our Councillors, MP’s, Civil Servants and Corporate Business to account,  people should decide when and how things change and the politicians should do whatever they can to represent the needs of the people.

There is much infighting at the moment, we need more policy and less provoking, we need to take a right look at ourselves as a party and start listening to the needs of all people, including the vulnerable, whom I feel have no voice in the city, they aren’t interested in politics anymore, they have felt abandoned.

I want to represent those people, which is why on Saturday at 4pm, if you are a labour member I ask that you vote for the people and vote for me Daniel Harris to represent those people on the BHDLP Exec.

Good luck to all candidates and lets try and remember we are all united within Labour, and our goal should be to eject the tories with policies and unity.