The big issue at the council this week has been the plight of private renters across the city and the extraordinary row that blew up between the Green administration and community union Acorn over landlord licensing.
Over a third of residents in Brighton and Hove live in private rented accommodation and, while there are many excellent landlords, there are a multitude of problems.
Shockingly, almost half of all renters across the south east have suffered illegal acts from landlords.
The Labour group have long been advocating for the implementation of a licensing scheme to address some of the issues.
Since the local elections in 2019, Labour and the Greens have been committed to a joint working programme on housing and this has been working well for our residents in many respects.
However, we were shocked when papers for this week’s Housing Committee were published to see that the recommendation in the Green’s report was not to move forward with licensing.
Apparently, Acorn were shocked too – they held a demonstration outside Green party offices last week accusing the party of failing renters in the city which triggered something of a war of words.
The Greens backtracked, claiming they were working closely with Acorn as well as Labour to ensure a scheme would go ahead, with just the timeframe causing problems.
Acorn bit back, saying that the Greens had reneged on the only commitment made to them since being in administration, refused to meet since, and added: “It seems the Greens only care about renters when they are getting bad press.”
Meanwhile, Labour housing lead Gill Williams put forward an amendment reinstating the licensing plan and events took a bizarre turn with the Greens – presumably rattled by the row – deciding to join Labour in amending their own report.
Still, the eventual result is the city WILL soon, by hook or by crook, join the growing list of around 50 UK local authorities that have licensing schemes.
So all’s well that ends well – and the Labour group are delighted to have played our part in arm-twisting the administration into doing the right thing.
Councillor Amanda Evans is the deputy leader of the Labour opposition on Brighton and Hove City Council.
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