Councillors gagged from discussing affordable housing

December 8, 2010 2:19 PM

Labour SHAME graphicIn a letter to the local press Cllr Judith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat Member for Eaton Ward, criticised Labour and the Greens for stifling debate at City Hall.

Dear Editor,

A debate raised by the Liberal Democrats into the Government's incentives for building affordable housing in Norwich was stifled by the Labour Leader Steve Morphew backed by the Green councillors at Tuesday's City Council meeting. He used an archaic constitutional clause to stop debate and to prevent a vote being taken.

This gagging was both undemocratic and unhelpful. The Labour administration (backed by the Greens) may not want to discuss plans by the Government to build 150,000 affordable homes as they are still smarting from the Labour Government's failure to win the last General Election. However, with a housing waiting list of over 8,000 in Norwich it is of great concern to those who are on that list or those inadequately housed as to just how this council will respond to the policies like the Government's 'New Homes Bonus'. This is an incentive scheme that builds on the government's investment of £4.5bn and will see council tax matched and then supplemented by £350 per new home each year for six years.

Surely the Labour and Green Councillors are primarily representatives of their community and their political allegiances should come second. This gagging of councillors debating the building of affordable homes can't be good for democracy or the public's understanding of how Norwich City Council will respond to the Government's housing initiatives.

Cllr Judith Lubbock

Norwich City Council