Agenda item

Motion - The Tories’ national housing shortage, poverty incomes, unemployment and private-sector overcrowding


The Civic Mayor introduced the item ‘The Tories’ national housing shortage, poverty incomes, unemployment and private-sector overcrowding’ for which one motion and one amendment had been submitted.


Councillors Steve Foulkes and Jeff Green, having previously declared a personal prejudicial interest in this item left the Chamber whilst the matter was decided upon.




Councillor Adrian Jones moved and Councillor Paul Stuart seconded the following Motion submitted in accordance with Standing Order 7 -


Council notes government announcements claiming the highest statistical rates of employment in decades, implying that serious UK unemployment is virtually a thing of the past.


Council further notes that to effect a favourable presentation of this claim millions of adults are shown in government publicity as ‘employed’ who are in fact under-employed working only part-time in low paid jobs.


TUC research shows that accurately weighted accounting would add a further 1.3 million to the real unemployment total – demonstrating that analysis exposing the extent of austerity driven poverty-wages and uncovering statistically masked unemployment shows the true situation in a bleaker light.


Council further notes that: “More people are being pushed to the hard edge of the housing crisis by crippling private rents, frozen benefits and endless waiting lists for social homes that don’t exist.” (Liverpool Echo report, May 31st 2019.) 


Simultaneous analysis from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals: “A poverty cloud is hanging over 42% of workers in the North West with almost a million earning below £20,000 a year.” (Liverpool Echo report, 8th June 2019.)


Council further notes that the government’s continuing  ‘austerity’ policy of wage depression, underscoring its low-wage, post-industrial poverty-economy, combined with the greatest dearth of house building since the decades after the First World War, encourages increasing conversion of former Wirral family homes and shops into multi occupancy dwellings which, through over-crowding and high rents, risks today’s creation of tomorrow’s slums.


Council believes everybody should have access to decent housing as a fundamental right and applauds Wirral’s Housing Standards Team, and Selective Licensing scheme, for significantly influencing the quality of Wirral’s private sector housing stock but believes the tendency to over-crowding can only practicably be reversed by large scale development of high-quality council housing at genuinely affordable rents. 


Council therefore calls upon the Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning to:


·  Work closely with Homes England and other partners to tackle viability issues and maximise development on brown field land in Wirral;

·  examine options to increase the supply of genuinely affordable quality homes to meet housing need; and

·  develop a Policy approach via the planning system to respond to potential over-crowding by the creation of further Houses in Multiple Occupation


Council would therefore welcome measures by central government to alleviate the risk of multi-millions of pounds of HRE (Housing Revenue Account) clawback from previous stock transfers and notes that a Labour Government would remove that anomaly. 


Finally, Council recalls with immense pleasure the Wirral Conservative Leader’s recent declaration in favour of large-scale Wirral council housing, proposals that accord uncharacteristically with our Wirral Labour administration’s – and Jeremy Corbyn’s.”




Proposed by Councillor Ian Lewis

Seconded by Councillor Mike Collins


Insert after Paragraph 1:


Council notes Labour’s failure to produce a Local Plan; to introduce a policy to regulate Houses in Multiple Occupation and to tackle a housing waiting list of 8,797 households.


Council also notes that, nationally, more council houses were built under the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition (2010-15) than under the entire period of the previous New Labour Government.


Delete paragraphs 2, 3, 4, 5, 6


Paragraph 10: delete all after ‘Wirral council housing’


Having applied the guillotine, the Council did not debate this matter.


The amendment moved by Councillor Lewis was put and lost (24:34) (One abstention).


The original motion moved by Councillor Adrian Jones was then put and carried.


Resolved (37:18) (Four abstentions) That the motion be approved.