Posts Tagged ‘local government’

Last April, the ‘Social Fund’ was cut and the remaining money distributed to around 200 Councils. The fund had been used to provide Crisis Loans and Community Care Grants through the Job Centre. As part of an investigation with the Guardian, I looked at what was happening under the new localised system to the number of people applying for help – and the number of them who actually received support. Suffice to say the new scheme has been far from successful.

Read the full article here, and the associated datablog piece here.

This was an article which took a lot of twists and turns to reach the light of day. Suffice to say, if all councils were doing this type of work then illegal evictions would be less common in the UK.

“Councils have been empowered to prosecute landlords and their ‘agents’ for harassment and illegal eviction of tenants since 1977. The Protection from Eviction Act was originally passed to counter the types of ‘landlordism’ associated with the infamous Peter Rachman. Illegal eviction is where “any person unlawfully deprives the residential occupier of any premises of his occupation of the premises or any part thereof, or attempts to do so”.” Read the full article here.

Here in the UK we haven’t seen as dramatic a rise in repossessions as in the US, where it is a major problem. I interviewed Gayle McLaughlin, the Mayor of Richmond, for The New Internationalist. Mayor McLaughlin and her City Council are about to start using the ‘power of eminent domain’ (similar to compulsory purchasing orders in the UK) to stop foreclosures. Read the full interview here.


Here’s a post I’ve written up for Tessa Shepperson over at Landlord Law. It summarises a Communities and Local Government (CLG) Select Committee report on private rented housing sector (PRS). There have been more reports in the past decade on the PRS than you could shake a giant bunch of keys at. Most of these are worthy and well researched with clear recommendations – the problem is no one in central government really wants to do them.

Suffice to say I wasn’t impressed with the final CLG report, and have my doubts as to whether anything significant will happen as a result. In the next couple of months I’ll be looking into whether the current law is being enforced.

“In the last two weeks private rented housing (or PRS to use the jargon) has been on the mind of every policy wonk in the UK. The reason being publication of a report on private rented housing by the Communities and Local Government Select Committee.”

The full article can be read here.

Much can be said about an organisation by its definition of ‘young’.  While 18 to 25 years is widely accepted as the default,18 to 30 pushes the box closer towards young adults, grown up and settled down.  However, in local government, a ‘young councillor’ is considered to be anyone under the age of 35.  So why is it that young people are largely absent or in a significant minority in local government?

Read more here.

UK government is known as one of the most centralised in the world. One way which the current government claimed to be giving power back to local government was through the ‘General Power of Competence’. This was a long awaited bit of legislation (first contained in the 1983 Labour Party Manifesto) which means councils can now do anything that isn’t forbidden (whereas before they had to be given permission through an Act of Parliament). Unfortunately, it’s not been as big a change as local government would have hoped.

Read more here!

For four years I was a City Councillor, serving on the opposition benches under an incredibly frustrating Cabinet system. Here’s an article I written for the Guardian on councils abandoning the ‘Cabinet system’ and returning to the ‘Committee System’.

“Committees are back in local government. Despite the idea once being derided for creating camels instead of horses, a small but influential group of councils are returning once again – under the powers of the Localism Act – to the system of collective decision making by an appointed group.” Read more here.