Christmas is a time for joy, a time for generosity, a time for caring. This edition of the Medway Messenger will be landing on doormats on Boxing Day so I’m sure there will be many who will be enjoying time with loved ones, but the sad reality is for some families this Christmas will be a tremendously difficult time of year.
We know in Medway the issue of housing continues to impact, we have seen huge increases in the number of homelessness applications being submitted here, the complaints about the quality of private sector housing have risen over the past 12 months and the queue on the Medway Housing List continues to be around 20,000 people.
The Conservative Council here in Medway have taken a complacent approach to housing, not recognising the massive challenges of the housing crisis here.
That is why Medway Labour are putting forward an alternative housing strategy for Medway. We want to see private sector landlords held to account, which is why we would want to see the introduction of a selective licensing scheme to tackle the issue of rogue landlords.
It is also about increasing the levels of activity to deal with the empty and derelict properties across Medway.
We also need to need to push for national change too, for too long local councils have not been able to build council houses. Since the 80’s and the right to buy scheme we have seen numbers of good quality social housing falling. As part of our strategy, we will be calling on national government to give councils like Medway more flexibility to allow for good quality affordable housing.
Medway Labour knows that good housing is at the heart of a good community.
On behalf of the Medway Labour team can I wish all readers a safe and happy 2015.