Right to Buy – An utterly wrong Tory policy

Cameron warned over right-to-buy

David Cameron has been warned by the Institute of Fiscal Studies that his proposed extension to the right-to-buy scheme risks worsening the housing crisis and damaging Britain’s public finances.

The IFS also warned that the measure risked further dividing communities into rich and poor areas. It added that previous pledges to replace every home bought under the existing right to buy scheme had not been followed through.

The Times newspaper ran this story

What Britain needs now is more social housing not less. Giving people a cheap deal to buy their social housing property simply takes out another much needed house from this sector of the housing market thereby reducing the supply of the very type of property we are most in need of!

Places like Maghull, Lydiate and Southport are hardly in need of more private housing stock which bizarrely our Labour-led Council is forcing upon us. It’s social housing that is required and it needs to be built on brownfield sites not on acre after acre of high grade agricultural land which we presently grow our food on.

Both to the left and right housing policy has gone utterly mad.

With thanks to the LGiU for the lead to this story.

Maghull/Lydiate – Green Belt Campaigners Public Meeting

As someone who has fought Labour every inch of the way as they have been voting to build on our precious Green Belt and high grade agricultural land in Sefton Borough I thought I would pop along to the public meeting organised by the Maghull & Lydiate Action Group last Thursday evening.

A packed public meeting in Maghull Methodist Church on 26th February.

A packed public meeting in Maghull Methodist Church on 26th February.

The meeting was held in Maghull Methodist Church Hall and was packed with locals who all clearly felt as I and indeed the Action Group feel about Labour’s mad building plans.

It was nice to here that Lydiate Parish Council’s fight to save the Green Belt was appreciated but at the same time sad to hear Labour-run Maghull Town Council coming in for a lot of stick for it’s lack of fight. Sad because in 1998 Maghull Town Council, then Lib Dem-run, led the campaign to fight off Sefton Council’s attempt to build on the very same Green Belt that Labour are intending to build on now. No one can understand why Labour has just let it all roll over them this time.

I kept quiet for most of the meeting as I did not feel it was appropriate for me to spout off as a Lib Dem politician and councillor at a meeting called by people independent of all political parties. So I sat and listened to many contributions from Green Belt campaigners from Maghull, Lydiate and Formby. It was only after the meeting was all but over that I contributed.

Firstly, I apologised for being there quite openly as a Lib Dem politician even though I am one on the same agenda as the Action Group. As my contribution seemed to be welcome I outlined some issues that I have been involved with and answered a couple of points that had come up during the meeting. Fortunately, my comments were well received despite them hardly being politically impartial.

Labour councillors came in for a lot of stick for voting to build on the Green Belt after saying they were going to save it and also for not turning out to speak to the Green Belt campaigners when asked to. A photo was put up on the projector screen of Labour folk holding up posters saying ‘Save the Green Belt’ in Maghull Square before their Sefton Councillors U turned and voted to build on the Green Belt.

At the end of the meeting we were all treated to what may have been the first public showing, in Maghull anyway, of a funny video. It’s on You Tube and is a spoof Hitler video adapted to local circumstances associated with the Labour Party and the Green Belt. It had us all laughing, despite the fact that I had previously seen it on You Tube. I understand that Green Belt campaigners in Bradford have now adapted the same video for their similar local circumstances.

A useful meeting which I was happy to attend but probably one that a Maghull Labour councillor would have found very uncomfortable. Talk about your sins finding you out!

Sefton Council – Democracy fails the people

There has to be something very wrong going on with a Council when a wide range of people from all backgrounds are saying to the Council that it is wrong but the Council just ploughs on no matter what.

As one opposition councillor said at last night’s Sefton Council meeting ‘I was elected to represent local people’. Indeed he was, yet council officers and the lead political group arrogantly push on in a direction that few outside of their bunker seem to think is right.

Local government in Sefton is sadly breaking down and it is becoming something that is remote and out of touch with the diverse communities of the Borough. The Council is run from Bootle, the political power is in Bootle, the vast majority of its staff are based in Bootle and its face is seemingly turned towards Liverpool.

Our draft Local Plan is not a document that can be held up as being a plan for Sefton: it’s a plan for Bootle run Sefton Council and if anything in it benefits the rest of the Borough it is more by happen chance than by design.

Sefton has become centralised, disinterested and ignorant of its communities and their needs and wishes. No good will come of this and as someone who has pursued the devolution of power down to the lowest level so that communities make their own decisions about their own issues this is a sad state of affairs to me.

As a free thinking liberal I look upon the tight political control of the ruling group more in sadness than anger. I could not belong to a political group that stopped me from openly saying when I disagreed with it. You can whip councillors as much as you like but surely they have to be free to say ‘this is wrong for the community which elected me and I will not support it’.

Local democracy in Sefton is under the whip and the iron fist of centralsied control; it has to lead to bad decisions being made and leave residents wondering why their councillors are no longer representing them when they toe the party line instead.

Odd happenings at the last Sefton Council meeting


Cllr. Mike Booth has one story of the ‘sit down and shut up’ carry on. See link above.

The other daft happening was the Labour amendment to my motion about the Southport – Wigan – Manchester railway line. The amendment was nothing more than sycophantic and rather sad because it praised the Labour Leader of Sefton for raising the matter at a City Region Cabinet meeting. What Labour’s amendment did not say was that I had asked him to do just that, indeed in moving the motion I had made mention of that very exchange!

One thing you quickly pick up on in the socialist republic of Sefton is that Labour have to be seen to be in control and have initiated everything and their leader has to be seen to be leading everything. There are some pretty undemocratic countries where such behaviour is seen to be unacceptable and in poor taste but this is a Council in England for goodness sake!