Guest post by Philip Grant in a personal capacity
By the time you read this, item 13 on Monday evening’s Full Council meeting will probably have happened. Martin has already shared a copy of the motion on “Building the Homes our Community Needs”, put forward by Lib Dem councillor Anton Georgiou, which deals with affordable housing, and whether Brent Council should make some of its New Council Homes shared ownership properties, rather than for letting at genuinely affordable rents.
It is certainly ‘an issue of relevance to Brent’, but the chances are that it won’t get a proper debate on the actual issues the motion raises. Although this is a meeting of all the councillors, who are supposed to represent the views of the residents in their Wards, across the borough, what will be played out is a game of party politics.
A small extract from the Labour Group amendment to Cllr. Georgiou’s motion.
When the agenda for the meeting was updated on Monday, it included an amendment to the motion by the Labour Group. The word ‘amendment’ is perhaps an understatement (see extract where red = Labour). Although I suspect that few Labour Group members were consulted over it (perhaps just the Leader and a couple of Cabinet members?), it is likely they will be “whipped” to support the many amendments, then to vote for the amended motion.
The amendments have been proposed to change the motion completely, so that it promotes the policies which the Cabinet adopted on 14 November. I set out many of these in a guest blog on 11 November, “Brent’s New Affordable Council Homes promises shredded!”, and Martin’s blog on 14 November, and comments on it, give a flavour of what happened when the Cabinet approved the recommendations of the “Update on the supply of New Affordable Homes” report, without any noticeable discussion of it.
One of the key issues in all this is whether Brent Council should “convert” some of the affordable housing it plans to build from the “genuinely affordable” London Affordable Rent to shared ownership homes. That is something which does need a proper debate, which it won’t get at a Brent Council meeting, so I’m offering this opportunity for you to have your say. Here are the two versions of the shared ownership issue, from the motion and the proposed amendment to it.
This Council believes: Shared Ownership schemes are not a ‘genuinely affordable’ housing model and are not something that should be promoted by Brent.
This Council resolves to: Ensure all new developments taking place on existing estates within our borough must be seeking to provide more Social Housing and not Shared Ownership or Market Sale units.
This Council believes: Shared Ownership schemes are not a top priority for Brent Council, but do form a valuable part of an overall housing mix, as they allow some people to get onto the housing ladder when they otherwise would not be able to afford a full deposit.
This Council resolves to: Continue to work with the GLA and DLUHC to secure the funding needed to ensure all new developments must seek to provide as much social housing as is financially viable.
If you have a view on whether Brent should provide some shared ownership homes, rather than those homes being for affordable rent to Council tenants, please share it in the comments below. Even if you are a member of a political party, please just give your personal views.
You can just “vote”, for Proposal 1 or Proposal 2, if you wish. You don’t have to give your reasons, although it would help to properly understand how Brent residents feel about this subject if you do.
You can comment as “Anonymous”, although if you do, it would help if you can give some indication of what angle your view is coming from. But please comment honestly, so that we can have a proper debate on ‘an issue of relevance to Brent.’ Thank you.
The Labour Group amendment was submitted by Cllr Shama Tatler, Kingsbury ward.
The full Labour Amendment in red and black is HERE,