Author: Adam Volz

Nottingham Labour’s record in Clifton North…

Over the past four years Nottingham Labour has worked hard to make Clifton North a brighter and better place to live. With your help we have be able to deliver:

  • New Play Area at Clifton Flower Park following £85,000 of investment by local Labour councillors for local children and families to enjoy.
  • Lidl Store on the Clifton Triangle site creating new jobs and providing an affordable supermarket option for local people.
  • 50 New Jobs with the B&M store on the Clifton Triangle, 85% of places went to local residents in Clifton.
  • Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair hosted in Clifton with more than 30 stalls from employers such as Nottingham City Transport, Boots and many others.
  • Better looking A453 following landscaping work with Highway England, including 3000 bulbs planted to improve the look of the area.
  • Warmer Homes through external wall, cavity and loft insulation on 2,185 houses with the Green HousING Project which is also helping bring down energy bills for local people.
  • Free bulky waste collections in order to prevent fly-tipping and help keep Clifton, Wilford, Silverdale and The Grove clean.
  • Free residents parking scheme in Clifton Grove so local people always have somewhere to park their car.
  • Fun family events including Teddy’s Bear Picnic, Ruddington Lane Family Fun Day and Clifton Parkrun for local people to enjoy in their free time.
  • More School Places with £770,000 invested in expanding South Wilford Primary School, creating 100 new places so local children can go to a local school.

Lilian Greenwood and Cllr Josh Cook have already been able to achieve all this. By electing Shugutah Quddoos on Thursday 27th September, we can achieve even more for Clifton North. 

Shugutah Quddoos for Clifton North on Thursday 27th September

 

I grew up on a council estate and came to Nottingham to study. Since then, Nottingham has become my home and is where I raised my family. I have worked as a manager at the Metropolitan Support Trust leading a team delivering support for frail older people, I have been a support worker at at Women’s Aid helping survivors of domestic abuse and I now run a social enterprise that promotes equality.

I know the difference Lilian Greenwood MP and Councillor Josh Cook have made and if you elect me, I can help make things even better around here. Together we can continue to raise the issues that matter to you – including parking, speeding, potholes, protecting our parks and ensuring there are more opportunities for young people in the area.

My pledges if elected are:

  1. Seek to expand free residents parking permit schemes wherever possible across Clifton, Wilford, Silverdale and Clifton Grove.
  2. Work with our partners in the Police and Community Protection to tackle criminal and anti-social behaviour.
  3. Continue to fund a series of affordable or free fun family events.
  4. Develop a Clifton Cleanliness Campaign to tackle littering and fly-tipping in the area.
  5. Increase the number of councillor surgeries to three per month.

I hope you’ll consider voting for me to elect a second Labour councillor so we can achieve even more for you.

Best wishes,
Shuguftah Quddoos

New Lidl Set to Open on the Clifton Triangle Site

For many years Labour councillors and Lilian Greenwood MP have campaigned for the development of the Clifton triangle site as a way to create new jobs for local people, increase the choice of shops for residents in Clifton and help regenerate the wider area. The next stage of this is now taking place with the opening of a new Lidl on the site on Wednesday 6th September, providing an affordable supermarket option for local residents.

This follows on from the opening of a new B&M store on the site last month which created 50 new jobs, 85% of which went to Clifton residents. Further plans for the site include the construction of 24 apartments, four non-food retail units and a restaurant for residents to enjoy with an associated car park on the plot of land in Green Lane as well.

We are really pleased that Lidl will be one of the new shops opening on the Clifton Triangle site. We have tried for a long time to make this a reality and there was an overwhelmingly positive response from local residents when Lilian Greenwood launched her petition in 2016. The work on the Clifton Triangle site has also been complemented by the the improvements to the town centre as well with £500,000 invested in improving the retail area in Southchurch Drive which included a new pavement, furnishings, benches and the replanting of trees.

As Nottingham Labour we are committed to investing in our communities and believe this development will help build on the improvements already made, making Clifton and even better place both for visitors and the local community.

Building a Better Nottingham by Transforming the South Side of the City

In Nottingham Labour’s 2015 manifesto we promised to work with Intu to refurbish the Broadmarsh Centre and create an attractive and inviting entrance into the city from Nottingham Station and the South of the City.

This summer the final phase of delivering this ambition has begun:

  • In May work started on the new Nottingham College City Campus Hub, a £58 million building scheme on a derelict site in Canal Street with the aim of providing high-quality college and community facilities.
  • Broadmarsh Carpark was successfully demolished paving the way for a £50 million development to build the new car park and bus station, with around £20m coming from external funding.
  • June saw the approval of a £30 million plan in partnership with a number of organisations including Heritage Lottery Fund, D2N2 and the NottinghamCastle Trust to transform Nottingham Castle into a world-class heritage destination that will attract hundreds of thousands of visitors to Nottingham ever year.
  • Intu have also now committed to £81 million of investment in the Broadmarsh shopping centre which will move Nottingham up from its current position of 12th in the UK retail rankings to 6th with major work set to start later this year

The Southern Gateway project represents a total of £250 million of investment in the area with funding from Nottingham City Council’s capital programme, Nottingham College, Intu and the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership. This level of investment will transform the southern part of Nottingham, providing a boost to the local economy, bringing thousands of new jobs for local people and millions of extra visitors to the city.

Our 2015 manifesto also had a commitment to Start the development of a new Central Library for the city and this week we were proud to announce a consultation on an exciting proposal to develop a new central library as part of a revamped Broadmarsh area. A new Central Library at Broadmarsh would be an attractive and inspiring space. Facing onto a pedestrianised Colin Street and Carrington Street, the new library would be at the heart of the revitalised Broadmarsh – flanked to the east by the new City College and to the West by the world heritage destination of Nottingham Castle.

No decision has yet to be taken about whether or not to go ahead and create a new Central Library, but we have started a public consultation to explore the possibility. We are very keen to hear what parents and children would want, as well as current library users. This is your chance to have your say and tell us if you think we should grasp this opportunity to create a new Central Library for Nottingham.

To get involved in the consultation, you can contact us online here: https://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/transport-parking-and-streets/broadmarsh/

The Government Bails out Failing Conservative Councils with Latest Rigged Funding Formula

The Government has proposed its latest attempt to bail out failing Conservative run local authorities with an unfair funding formula that will give the majority of a £153 million fund to the South East and South West while continuing to take money away from places like Nottingham with further cuts to its Revenue Support Grant.

Following the Government’s £300 million of extra ‘transition funding’ announced in 2016, which overwhelmingly benefitted more affluent councils in the South, the Government has now proposed ‘negative RSG’ compensation worth £153 million with a rigged criteria which will again see the majority given to local authorities in the South East and South West.

Research has shown that the ‘negative RSG’ funding will see:

  • Conservative controlled local authorities receive £131.7 million of which is 86% of the total available funding.
  • Labour-led authorities will receive only £3.3m ‘negative RSG’ compensation (2%) after just £14.1m of the transition grant (5%)

Surrey County Council is set to be one of the biggest winners as it will receive £17.3m from the new scheme after previously pocketing £24.1m of transition grant in 2016. It’s outrageous that the Government is once again choosing to bail out councils in better-off areas of the south when poorer councils in the North and Midlands in areas with higher need are losing out.

Increasingly we see Conservative controlled authorities in crisis with their finances despite less cuts to their finances and preferential treatment when it comes to the Government’s funding formula. The list of failing Conservative controlled councils that the Government are trying to bail out includes:

The Conservative Party is showing themselves both unfair and incompetent when it comes to managing money. Nottingham people and others across the North and Midlands are losing out on millions of pounds of extra funding which would help support the vital council services they rely on. We have written the three Nottingham Members of Parliament and we are working In partnership with the Special Interest of Municipal Authorities to get this issue taken up by the Public Accounts Committee so we can get answers on the Government’s unfair approach to funding.

Cllr Graham Chapman
Portfolio Holder for Finance, Resources and Commercial Services

Government Rejects Nottingham’s Bid for More Council Homes

Nottingham Labour believes in council housing, we want to build more, but the Conservatives are making it hard for us. The number of houses we have been able to deliver has been nowhere near the number that have been sold in recent years. The reasons for this are:

  • We are only allowed to use right to buy receipts to fund 30% of the cost of a scheme, the remainder must be funded through borrowing on the Housing Revenue Account which is in turn limited by central Government;
  • We are only allowed to spend the money on a very narrow range of housing types and it cannot be given to our ALMO Nottingham City Homes.
  • There is a very limited timescale to use the money and development sites can involve long lead in times to acquire, prepare and plan.

In the 2017 Autumn Statement, it was announced that local authorities with demand for new homes would be allowed to raise their Housing Revenue Account cap. However the Government has now announced that Nottingham will not be allowed to apply to raise the cap. The Conservatives have adopted a perverse set of criteria that has led to extraordinary situation where only 104 Councils can extend their borrowing cap – 91 of which are in the South, and the vast majority of which are Conservative controlled councils. We are left with the bizarre situation where Rushcliffe are eligible to extend their cap, despite the fact that we have 4 times the number of people on the housing waiting list and over 7 times the number of homelessness acceptances.

The Chartered Institute of Housing called for the suspension of the Right to Buy in order to support the delivery of the affordable homes the country needs. We will also have very soon the so called “voluntary” right to buy for housing association tenants being piloted in our region, potentially leading to further loss of social homes which are not being properly replaced. In the present housing crisis this Tory Government must consider the impact that the right to buy is having, and at the very least review the rules for the expenditure of right to buy receipts to make the “1-4-1” commitment a reality, as well as allowing councils like Nottingham to borrow to fund the council house building that we want to do.

Cllr Jane Urquhart
Portfolio Holder for Housing and Planning

Too Many Young People are Being Permanently Excluded by Schools in Nottingham

Permanent exclusions need to become a method of last resort as their current excessive use by many schools in Nottingham is leading to higher costs, damaging young people’s futures and has been linked to increased levels of knife crime.

Pupils in Nottingham are up to three times more likely to be permanently excluded than regional or national peers. Comparisons from the 2015/16 academic year show that in Nottingham 77 secondary school age pupils were permanently excluded. In Derby there were 28 students expelled, while in Leicester there were just 14. Since 2014 there has been 73 permanent exclusions of primary school children in Nottingham and 377 secondary school children. These are significant numbers and suggests some Nottingham schools are using permanent exclusions as a first response rather than a method of last resort.

Pupils that are given permanent exclusion end up being educated with alternative providers across the city and county where they receive a reduced curriculum and timetable. Not only are these providers of variable quality, they cost far more than mainstream schools and academies, creating a huge pressure on the city’s limited High Needs funding. The financial impact of mass exclusions means there is less funding available to all of the schools and academies in the city to spend on vulnerable pupils. It is estimated that the cost of exclusion is around £370,000 per young person in lifetime education, benefits, healthcare and criminal justice costs as well.

The cost is not just financial however as in the majority of cases permanently excluding a pupil from school will have a significant negative impact on the rest of their life. This may include poor attainment, ongoing mental health issues and the increased likelihood of entry into the criminal justice system. There is also some suggestion that as the number of permanent exclusions increases and more young people are not in school it adds to the problem of knife crime areas as well.

Too many of our vulnerable young people are being excluded and failed by the education system in Nottingham. We have raised concerns with the Regional Schools Commissioner who we expect to work with academies in Nottingham to reduce the number of permanent exclusions. Although academies are outside the councils direct remit, we urge them to work together and with the council to reduce the numbers of children being excluded.

Cllr Neghat Khan,
Portfolio Holder for Education and Skills

Nottingham Labour Commits to Tackling Air Pollution in the City

The health of our citizens is a top priority, and the harmful effects of air pollution are well known. This year’s Clean Air Day highlighted the importance of clean air and looking after our environment as well as showing what Nottingham people can do in their own lives to make a difference. We’re proud of the work we’ve been doing to address air pollution in Nottingham; introducing greener transport, including one of the largest all-electric park and ride bus fleets in the country, and expanding our successful tram network, as well as investing in cycle infrastructure and ultra-low emission vehicles.

We know there is more to do though and that is why we have used July’s Full Council to layout our plans to bring down Nitrogen Dioxide by 2020 and also take measures to reduce particulate matter. Our motion will commit to go beyond government requirements by continuing our commitment to clean public transport, take action to reduce engine idling, helping people to shift to Ultra Low Emissions Vehicles and reducing the Council’s emissions of pollutants.

The electrification of the midlands mainline would be enormously beneficial to Nottingham’s air quality too as it would reduce the number of diesel trains coming into the city centre every day. Instead the new trains being proposed by the government – bi-mode trains – would continue to emit high levels of nitrogen dioxide into the city centre – an area of our city that the Government has already identified as having poor air quality. If the Government can commit to the £30 billion Crossrail 2 project which will mainly benefit London and the South East then they can commit to the electrification of the Midlands Mainline for Nottingham. It’s simply not good enough and our motion reaffirms our commitment to continue to campaign for this.

Cllr Sally Longford
Portfolio Holder for Energy and Enviroment

Government Continues to Let Down Older People on Adult Social Care

Further Government delays in getting a grip of the adult social care funding crisis will lead to extra costs and problems like bed blocking as demand continues to increase and funding diminishes.

The Secretary of State for Health & Social Care Jeremy Hunt announced last week that the Adult Social Care Green Paper, which will set out the Government’s plans for adult social care, is now to be delayed until the Autumn 2018 – originally expected to be published this month. He confirmed that a full funding plan for social care will not be settled until the Government’s Spending Review is announced – which is not until autumn 2019.

Adult social care and looking after vulnerable people now accounts for 60% of the council’s overall budget, at a time when the main Government funding has reduced from £126m five years ago to just £35m this year. An adult social care precept of 3% on Council Tax will raise £3m in Nottingham – but £20m extra is needed this year and next to deal with the extra demand for social care.

The Government is presiding over a crisis in social care, with funding going down while demand is going up, This latest example of Government inaction will make it even harder than it already is for councils to plan their budgets and ultimately will end up costing the NHS more and hit elderly, vulnerable people with more bed blocking and other problems.

The Government continues to fail to recognise that proper investment in social care will provide a saving for the NHS – it costs £350 a week for council care at home, but £2,150 a week for care in an NHS bed. It should give greater priority to social care rather than kicking the problem down the road and leaving councils with insufficient funds to pick up the pieces.

Final details confirmed for licensing scheme to improve private rented housing in Nottingham

Nottingham Labour has delivered on its 2015 manifesto commitment to introduce a selective licencing scheme to improve the standards of accommodation in the private rented sector of our city.

Most of the standards we are asking landlords to follow are basic safety requirements that anyone would want for their home. These include: 

·         Ensuring that all gas installations and appliances are in a safe condition at all times and that an annual gas safety check is carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

·         Ensuring that electrical appliances made available in the house by them are kept in a safe condition and proper working order at all times.

·         Ensuring that the electrical installation in the house is kept safe and in proper working order at all times.

·         Ensuring that at all times a suitable fire detection and alarm system is installed in the house and is maintained in proper working order. 

·         Ensuring that a carbon monoxide alarm is installed in any room in the house which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation and contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance.

 Licences will cost landlords with Nottingham Standard accreditation £480, the equivalent of £1.85 a week per property over the five years of the scheme and £780, which equates to £3 a week if they haven’t got accreditation. Under current HMRC rules the licence could be classed as an allowable expense and may therefore reduce the tax liability for some landlords depending upon their individual circumstances.

This means there is no justification for rent increases by landlords and that the vast majority of landlords should absorb the licence fee and the cost of any necessary improvements to properties as part of the day-to-day costs of running of their business. Income from the licence fees will only go towards the cost of setting up, operating and delivering the schemes.

Selective licencing is good news for thousands of Nottingham’s private rented tenants, who will know what is expected of their landlord in terms of property management and standards. Rogue landlords will also be investigated and action taken.  

 

It is also good news for responsible landlords who are operating legitimately and complying with the law, as Nottingham’s reputation for providing quality housing increases.

 

Cllr Jane Urquhart
Portfolio Holder for Planning, Housing and Heritage.

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