Council adopts Labour proposal on affordable housing

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At last weeks Full Council meeting councillors voted to support a motion which will make it harder for property developers to shirk their affordable housing obligations through the use of questionable viability assessments.

Speaking in support of the motion and on the need for affordable housing local Charles Dickens ward campaigner Claire Udy said:

“Portsmouth is suffering with record numbers of homeless residents, some on the streets, some in temporary accommodation waiting for their chance to get a home. Developers who are only keen on maximising profits do not care about the housing provision of the most vulnerable in this city. I’ve been in Charles Dickens ward, taking to residents about their concerns. They are asking why there aren’t any homes for their children who now have children of their own. They also wonder why veterans are on the streets.”

This was a key issue highlighted in the recently published report the Portsmouth Labour Plan for Affordable Housing. Commenting on the motion the Chair of Portsmouth Labour Housing Forum Cal Corkery said:

“These viability assessments have been used by unscrupulous developers to get out of providing the affordable housing so desperately needed in our communities. I welcome this motion and am glad it has attracted support from across the political spectrum. Our group will continue to campaign on housing issues and look forward to winning more victories for local people.”

Local campaigners had been hard at work in recent weeks and months seeking cross party backing for these changes to affordable housing planning policy. As a result last weeks motion tabled by the Liberal Democrat group attracted unanimous support from councillors of all parties.

 

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It’s time every single child has the chance to succeed

There are 4 million children in the UK in poverty. This is shameful in the sixth richest country in the world. Yet, in 2015, the Tories scrapped Labour’s child poverty targets.

This week Labour introduced a bill to parliament to bring targets back and an action plan to end child poverty once and for all. The proposals, announced nationally by Dan Jarvis MP, have Portsmouth Labour’s full support.

Children in poor households tend to perform less well at school, impacting on future education, training and employment opportunities.

There is also a strong link between health inequalities and poverty.

To tackle poverty, what happens in childhood is critical. Poverty is the strongest determinant of poor outcomes for children when they reach adult life.

Cllr Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth’s Labour Leader said:

“In order to give children the best start in life their development in the first five years of life is crucial. 

Children who grow up in poverty are four times as likely to become poor adults, becoming the parents of the next generation of children living in poverty”.

Poverty is the single greatest threat to the wellbeing of children and families. Any family can fall on hard times and find it difficult to make ends meet. But poverty isn’t inevitable. With the right policies every child can have the opportunity to do well in life, and we all share the rewards of having a stronger economy and a healthier, fairer society.

In the past few years, child poverty has increased. Research shows that 22.3% of all children aged 0-19 are deemed as living in poverty in our city.

This rises sharply in some parts of Portsmouth, demonstrating real pockets of deprivation. In Charles Dickens ward over 44% of all children aged 0-19 live in poverty.

As a Charles Dickens ward member, Cllr Morgan added:

“Where you are born shouldn’t determine where you end up in life. Yet too many people are being held back and left behind. That’s why tackling child poverty is so important. Every single child in our city deserves the best chance in life.

Across Portsmouth, people dedicate their lives to transform the lives of others. I hugely value these services, will always support and try to protect them.

I entered public service to help make sure every single child in every single community in our great city has the opportunity to succeed.

I fully support Labour’s national campaign to finally end child poverty. I hope you will show your support too”.

To show your support to end child poverty and to sign the online petition visit: www.nochildpoverty.org.uk

Portsmouth Council workers now earning £1,154 less than Living Wage

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This week marks the annual celebration of the Living Wage movement which seeks to secure decent pay for low paid workers. Living Wage Week is an opportunity to promote understanding of the campaign for a real Living Wage and to encourage more employers to sign up.

The Living Wage as defined by the Living Wage Foundation is independently calculated to be the minimum hourly rate necessary to sustain workers and their families. It is currently set at £8.45 an hour, significantly higher than the misleadingly named National Living Wage announced last year by George Osbourne which now stands at just £7.20 an hour.

In 2014 Portsmouth City Council publicly committed to pay its workers the rate defined by the Living Wage Foundation. The Tories then took control of the administration in 2015 and effectively repealed that decision by choosing to freeze the hourly rate of the lowest paid council workers at £7.85 until the bogus national living wage caught up.

This means that around 174 of the lowest paid council employees are now earning up to £1,154 less than the rate defined by the Living Wage Foundation. This might be small change to council bosses but to hardworking families it could prove to be the difference between just getting by and being plunged into poverty.

The decision taken by Portsmouth Tories is in stark contrast to the strategy adopted where Labour is in power. In London the Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan announced earlier this week that the London Living Wage will increase to £9.75 an hour, the higher rate reflecting the greater costs of living in the capital.

Portsmouth Labour Party is committed to fighting for decent jobs, housing and public services for all and calls on the council to implement a proper Living Wage for all employees.

Cal Corkery

Portsea people raise concerns over congestion

traffic-2Residents in Portsea have raised their increasing concerns with their local ward councillor, Stephen Morgan over congestion and traffic flow on local streets this week. 

The level of traffic being funnelled through Queen Street/Angelsea Road junction and Unicorn/Market Way junction is currently saturating the network, leading to severe delays for both public transport and general traffic on Hope Street/Market Way and Queen Street/The Hard, and within the Naval Base. Continue reading “Portsea people raise concerns over congestion”

Labour raises concerns over future of local counselling service

counsellingThe future of the local charity the Portsmouth Counselling Service (PCS) is in doubt following decisions by the City Council and Clinical Commissioning Group.

The PCS is one of the most valuable services provided by the voluntary sector in Portsmouth as it deals with some of the most vulnerable people in Portsmouth. Continue reading “Labour raises concerns over future of local counselling service”