Monday, November 27, 2006

Debate.....what debate?

After the public meeting we held on the changes to housing management in the borough my colleagues and I submitted a request to the Mayor for a Special Council Assembly to discuss the motions we were proposing. Although we regard the issue as urgent the Mayor (no doubt under political orders)has ruled that the Special Assembly will take place AFTER the regular Council meeting on 6th December. This means that our motions will not be debated until around midnight!

The issue of housing management is of concern to very many tenants and leaseholders across the borough. This is confirmed by the fact that 2 Area Housing Forums have rejected the changes and very many individuals have been in touch with myself and my colleagues to express their anger over the way in which this process has been handled by the Executive.

As a Group we have never said there should be NO changes to the way housing is managed in Southwark. What we do say is that any changes should only have been introduced after a period of consultation with tenants, leaseholders, officers and councillors. I still think that it is amazing that we will have no dedicated Director of Housing in Southwark, despite the fact that we are the country's biggest landlord.

So the decision to delay the debate on our motions until midnight is another example of this Tory/LibDem Executive trying to stifle discussion of an important issue and exclude the wider public from the decision-making process. If the changes which Cllr Humphreys and his LibDem colleagues are proposing are so robust and cannot be properly criticised why will they not debate them at a proper hour - or better still on another day at a time when the public can attend.

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