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From April of next year, thousands of tenants in social housing will be see their rents go up under the so-called pay to stay programme, which is part of the Housing and Planning Act 2016.

Many tenants have are now really worried about how this will impact their household finances. The most perverse aspect of the Act is how it will act as an incentive for people to reduce the number of hours they work, purely in order to avoid unavoidable rent hikes.  Warwick Payne, Cabinet member for Housing, gave the following comment:

"Pay to stay means that tenants in council or housing association properties have to pay much higher rents if they earn over a certain amount. All the extra cash goes to Westminster, so there's no local benefit.


It's calculated at £31,000 per household, so a couple earning £16,000 each (close to the living wage) would have to stump up more cash...or alternatively, pack in work, claim benefits, and avoid paying extra rent.


It's all part of the Housing Act 2016 that also takes away lifetime tenancies, and orders cities including Southampton to sell council housing on the open market and send the proceeds up to London each year.


You might ask what you can do about this - for now the answer is nothing, as the Tory Government has made it law.  The only way of getting rid of it is by getting rid of them.  It's just another example of why the UK needs a Labour government."

 

For more information on 'pay to stay' see here: https://www.theguardian.com/housing-network/2016/aug/31/pay-to-stay-social-housing-hit-low-earners

With 'pay to stay' the Tories are running amok

From April of next year, thousands of tenants in social housing will be see their rents go up under the so-called pay to stay programme, which is part of the Housing...

After a 20 year absence, Pride returned to Southampton last weekend.  Chris Hammond, Councillor for Woolston, gives his own personal perspective:

A lot’s changed since 1996, including our phenomenal progress towards equality. LGBT people can marry, adopt and have protections against various forms of discrimination - all of these changes have occurred since the last parade went through the city’s streets. An LGBT child born today will grow up in a more tolerant and accepting society than at any time before. This is something we should all be proud of.

Southampton Pride was a fun event for all the family: it had great music, people and acts to enjoy over the Bank Holiday weekend.

We had much to celebrate, but we mustn’t forget that we still don’t have full equality. Gay men cannot donate blood unless they practice 'abstinence' for a year – I doubt anyone is that altruistic.  Some children face homophobic abuse (whether they are gay or not), reinforcing a perception that being LGBT is wrong. The Daily Echo recently reported how hate crime has risen by 50% in Hampshire since June. This is even before you factor in such tragedies as the Orlando shooting in June.

No one in Southampton should have to feel afraid, ashamed or hate who they are: we’re all part of the beautiful diversity in this city. If Pride helped one person feel more at ease with their place in this city, it’ll all be worth it.  Long may it continue.

 

Southampton celebrates the return of Gay Pride

After a 20 year absence, Pride returned to Southampton last weekend.  Chris Hammond, Councillor for Woolston, gives his own personal perspective:

On June 23rd the Country and the majority of citizens in our city voted to quit the European Union. What this means in reality nobody knows. The people I spoke to who wanted out had a variety of reasons. Some wanted control over who was allowed to come and live here some felt that the laws that we live our lives by should be decided by the people we elect others said they were voting out because David and George wanted to stay in.  But now the long process of negotiation will have to begin. 

So what assurances do we need from our own government? 

There are significant amounts of direct funding that the Council gets from the EU and which we would hope could be honoured by the government.  One example is that we receive millions to help Southampton people overcome health problems like depression and addiction so they can get back to work and start paying in rather than taking out. 

In terms of key priorities for Southampton in any Brexit negotiation, I have the following suggestions:

Firstly, following a unanimous City Council decision to seek certainty for those European citizens that have chosen to live work and contribute to our city, we ask the government not to use them as a pawn in the negotiations, and make an early announcement that gives them leave to remain in this country. 

Secondly, I agree with Owen Smith who is standing for the Labour Leadership that any settlement over immigration should include an agreement to invest in public services in the places that immigrants choose to live regardless of which part of the world they come from.  Local people should not have to suffer worse services because of an influx of outsiders. 

Thirdly, as a result of European legislation we are now starting to make progress on a solution for poor air quality in our city and I don’t want to see any government backsliding on their support for our proposals for a clean air zone because of Brexit. 

Finally I would want to see all of the workplace protections such as paid holidays written swiftly into British Law. Ordinary working people should not have their quality of life reduced because the current Tory government puts the interests of big business above that of ordinary people.

These are my priorities - what are yours?

Getting the best deal for Southampton from Brexit

On June 23rd the Country and the majority of citizens in our city voted to quit the European Union. What this means in reality nobody knows. The people I spoke...

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