Canterbury Labour Group today submitted a key environmental motion for the full council meeting on the 18th July. The motion calls on Canterbury City Council to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 in light of the Climate and Environment Emergency declared by Parliament on the 1st May this year.
Over the last six months Labour has been listening to the rising tide of public support for major climate action. The Youth Strike for Climate and Extinction Rebellion groups have both led successful protests in Canterbury attended by Labour councillors. Councillor Pat Edwards, in submitting the motion said “environmental concerns have not been at the heart of the Districts agenda locally and Labour shows how Canterbury City Council can lead the way by taking this stand and committing to actions that give carbon neutrality a chance to be a reality by 2030.”
The Conservative administration has previously rejected calls to declare a climate emergency calling the target ‘arbitrary’, however Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Business and Innovation, Rebecca Long-Bailey spoke for the whole party when she said “perhaps more than anything, declaring an emergency means that we will devote the time and resources to the problem that are commensurate with its scale.” Bold policy is needed when the stakes are so high. We are already standing on thin ice so it’s high time to act quickly and to act now.
The motion calls on the “Council’s Corporate Plan to have the reduction of environmental impact at its core… [demanding] A baseline assessment of carbon footprint plus targets to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 and accessible and transparent reporting”. It demands that “A strategy needs to be in place by 2020 plus an Independent Climate Change Board to be appointed which will collaboratively develop new ideas and scrutinise progress in the district”.
Click here to download a full copy of the motion
After consistent pressure from the Labour Party and campaigners, the government have announced that they will abolish section 21 – a notice served by landlords to evict tenants without good reason. Though this shows incredible progress for renters rights, we still have much further to go. This is why a Labour council in Canterbury will establish an ethical letting agency to extend further support for those that are renting.
So often, adverts for rental properties bare the sign ‘No DSS’ (Department for Social Security). Though DSS doesn’t exist anymore, in practice, it means that landlords will not house tenants in receipt of housing and disability benefit. This is why an ethical letting agency would establish a collection of landlords that would not disadvantage potential tenants. Last year, an investigation by the BBC found that many landlords are more likely to rent to people with pets than people on state benefits. This shocking discovery necessitates why we need to stand with renters and against the discrimination they face.
Nationally, the Labour Party has promised to bring in legislation that will ban letting agency fees and Jeremy Corbyn himself has supported the work of ACORN – the renters union – in their campaigns. Locally, the establishment of an ethical letting agency will follow suit, by supporting all renters find appropriate properties and breaking down the barriers of discrimination that they currently face. Despite the fact that renting is growing increasingly common, with home ownership figures down, renters are still facing exploitation by rogue landlords, poor housing conditions and high costs.
This ethical letting agency would ensure that tenants were not being ripped off by landlords who are only prepared to line their pockets, whilst properties fall into disrepair. It would prevent tenants from paying extortionate costs for little gain and would only support advertise for landlords who not discriminate against those in receipt of any state benefit. This is why it is clear that a Canterbury City Council led by the Labour Party is the only option for renters locally.