Labour’s key pledges:
1. Create 4,000 new apprenticeships and training opportunities to help young people into work and take action to ensure employers pay at least the London Living wage.
2. Deliver 3,000 new council and housing association homes for rent and 2,000 for shared ownership. Crack down on rogue landlords and help local residents buy their first home.
3. Invest £2 million to fix potholes in local roads – and invite residents to nominate the roads that need it.
4. Overhaul doorstep collection to make recycling easier and collect fridges, mattresses and other bulky items to reduce fly tipping.
5. Protect residents from Conservative austerity policies: no cuts in older people’s care, no library closures, no building on parks or green belt and no council tax rise unless absolutely necessary.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]
Tackling the housing crisis facing residents
Increase the availability of quality homes for rent
- Secure at least 3,000 new council and housing association homes for rent.
- Deliver at least 2,000 new shared ownership housing association homes.
- Build as many council homes as possible and lobby Government to put lending for new homes on a par with other prudential borrowing.
- Maximise the provision of council and housing association owned homes for rent when developing council-owned land – seeking to develop long term income streams rather than short term capital receipts.
- Secure more council owned homes for rent by investing in the purchase of private sector properties in bulk off plan.
We will also
- Offer grants to tenants seeking to exercise their right to buy to encourage them to purchase their first home in the private sector
- Support the use of prefabricated and off-site production techniques to reduce the cost of new homes and increase the speed of delivery.
- Encourage the building of co-operative housing by making Council land available and lobby the Mayor of London and other resources to allocate funding.
- Support innovation in housing delivery through the establishment of Community Land Trusts.
- Encourage the development of extra care housing to provide suitable homes for those in need of social care.
- Support the development of suitable housing for older council and housing association tenants who are currently under-occupying large family houses.
- Provide better financial incentives for council tenants to downsize from under-occupied homes.
- Crack down on tenancy fraud and bring vacant council properties back into use quicker.
- Apply surcharges to charge the maximum council tax on empty properties.
- Use empty dwelling management orders to bring homes deliberately left vacant back into use.
- Oppose government plans to require the sale of high value council voids.
- Challenge government to fully fund post Grenfell fire safety measures in all social housing.
Better public and private housing
Improve housing and estate management
- Introduce new local estate and caretaking services to ensure that our homes and estates are clean and in good repair.
- Empower estate caretakers to tackle the full range of repairs and remedial works.
- Review the roles of front-line housing staff and empower them to improve resident satisfaction.
- Create a new team to tackle anti-social behaviour and tenancy fraud.
- Use the London benchmark rents for all new social rented developments in the borough.
- Ensure that all new social housing, conforms to energy efficient designs.
- Provide greater opportunities for tenants in social housing who have maintained an excellent rent payment history to move to more suitable homes as their families and personal requirements change.
- Investigate and support tenure models that encourage households to save for a deposit.
- Introduce on-line and self-service appointments and transaction systems, making it quicker and easier for residents to report problems and request action to resolve them.
- Review tenant and leaseholder service charges to ensure that they are fair and it reflects the level of services.
Action on rogue landlords
- Crack down on rogue landlords and introduce an accreditation/licensing scheme to set standards and improve conditions in the private rented sector.
- Maximise the use of planning powers to restrict the spread of sub-standard houses in multiple occupation.
- Use control orders under the 1985 Housing Act to improve poor quality houses in multiple occupation.
- Use the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, where rogue landlords are taken to court and if found guilty are fined heavily, fully recovering the monies they have made through their illegal activities, such as overcrowding, negligence, insanitary conditions, etc.
- Use planning policy and enforcement to prevent the growth of Houses in Multiple Occupation in properties that are not suitable.
- Look into the feasibility of setting up a not for profit letting agency.
Building stronger communities
Action on poverty and homelessness
- Take action to ensure employers pay at least the London Living Wage.
- Provide a £1,000 business rate discount for local businesses that are signed up to pay the London Living Wage.
- Protect hard pressed residents from loan sharks by promoting credit unions and ethical credit providers.
- Identify households at risk of homelessness and work with them to avoid eviction and prevent them from becoming homeless.
- Commission outreach services, shelters and sleeping pods for rough sleepers, with a focus on finding permanent housing solutions.
- Ensure that the Citizens Advice Bureau is adequately funded to ensure timely advice for residents in need of welfare advice.
- Maintain an adequate welfare fund to provide discretionary assistance grants.
- Establish a commission to investigate how the council and other local stakeholders can tackle poverty in the borough and improve the opportunities for residents
Improving education and youth services
- Create 4,000 new apprenticeships and training opportunities to help young people into work.
- Provide extra cash to protect school budgets from reductions in the Dedicated Schools Grant.
- Invest in education to provide a better choice of local schools.
- Encourage excellent schools to expand.
- Encourage the expansion of breakfast and after-school clubs and increase accessibility to vulnerable families.
- Provide support for voluntary and community sector youth and community services and facilities.
- Increase the level of funding for activities that develop children and young people particularly those detached from the education.
- Support the development of adult education programmes by encouraging contacts between schools and other institutions.
- Provide support for the deployment of Safer neighbourhood teams and Neighbourhood watch
- Increase support for community organisations and activities that improve community resilience and reduce crime and the fear of crime
Help for those who need it most
Help for those that need it and increased support for the carers our community depends upon
- No cuts in Adult Social care.
- Provide extra support to families and carers to ensure residents are able live independent and fulfilling lives in their own homes and communities and avoid dependency on institutional support.
- Encourage the development of extra care housing to provide suitable homes for those in need of social care.
- Encourage greater cooperation between agencies for social care provision.
- Provide a 100% discount on the council tax for young people leaving care.
- Provide a 100% council tax discount for foster carers
- Provide support through respite care for residents that act as carers.
- Help set up and fund support groups to help families of dementia sufferers.
- Move swiftly to implement a Community Asset Model for Adult Social Care.
- Campaign to protect local health services at West Middlesex, Charing Cross and Ealing hospitals.
- Lobby Transport for London and local transport providers to improve public transport to local health services.
- Improve community cohesion by supporting and promoting Big Get Together events and similar.
Community and voluntary sector
- Provide financial support to match fund community initiatives like the Grove Park Piazza to improve the environment around Chiswick Station.
- Publish details of s106 & Community Infrastructure Levy received each year, consulting councillors and residents on allocations including through the area forum.
- Encourage people to make use of community venues.
- Encourage schools to reach out and support educational and other activities within their local community and fund such activities where necessary.
- Encourage voluntary and community organisations to take on the self-management of community halls.
- Provide appropriate funding and support to voluntary and community groups to open up the use of underused community buildings for social uses.
Preparing for a better tomorrow
Providing the building blocks needed for the future
- Promote and properly support the ability of family, friends, neighbours and carers to maximise the opportunities for residents to live independent and fulfilling lives in their own homes and communities.
- Ensure that if the Hounslow Youth Centre site is developed we provide a new youth & community centre.
- Ensure that new community facilities are provided with sustainable income streams.
- Ensure all council services are sensitive to the needs of residents who have disabilities and able to offer advice and support as appropriate.
- Establish a borough-wide women’s forum to help empowering women and girls to excel and become leaders.
- Promote community cohesion in partnership with Voluntary Sector.
- Ensure new migrants and refugees are supported to integrate into local community by effective sign-posting and support services.
- Ensure domestic violence support services are coordinated between council and community services and all council services carry sign-posting and advice.
- Ensure community awareness of the rise of human trafficking and how to report it.
- Establish s106/Community Infrastructure funded programme of investment in Christmas lights, hanging baskets and other area improvements.
A smarter borough
- Put everyday council services on-line so that they are accessible 24/7.
- Support the development of Wi-Fi in all high streets and public areas, on housing estates and in new housing and commercial developments.
- Ensure that all new social housing, conforms to energy efficient designs, includes solar panels and Wi-Fi, and provides club car and electric vehicle parking (and
- Introduce a smart service user and discount card for local residents to replace library cards and leisure passes and combine the Residents Card with offers from local shops and money off parking, leisure centres and other council services.
Regenerating our borough
- Ensure that plans for the regeneration of the borough reflect the needs and aspirations of local residents and in particular provide improved job opportunities and homes residents can afford to buy.
- Encourage developers to bring forward proposals that complement the characters of the distinct localities within the borough and do not outpace the capacity of the social infrastructure.
- Work with public sector partners and local businesses to promote community wealth building, ensuring that whenever possible opportunities to procure from local businesses and voluntary organisations are maximised.
- Work with local businesses to ensure that the Borough’s shopping streets remain vibrant and accessible.
- Overhaul the statement of community involvement in consultation with residents and residents associations to increase their confidence in their ability to influence the planning process.
- Continue to insist that the planning process be more transparent by publishing viability assessments submitted by house builders and pre-planning enquiries, and making full use of the review mechanism to provide additional ‘affordable homes’ where the development is more profitability than anticipated.
- Robustly defend the requirement for developers to deliver ‘affordable homes’.
- Ensure the council’s planning policy is swiftly brought into line with the published London Plan target of 50% of new homes being ‘affordable’.
- Use planning policy to discourage fast food outlets next to schools and in particular to prevent the change of use of business premises to an A5 class takeaway within 400m of a school.
- Take action to reduce the loss of business and industrial employment space.
- Support retention of music and performance venues through planning policy.
Improving public transport
Improving public transport
- Support the development of the London Orbital Railway from Hounslow, Isleworth, Syon Lane, Brentford, Kew Bridge to Acton, Old Oak Common, Neasden, Brent Cross and West Hampstead and Hendon.
- Support the development of the Southall Rail link.
- Promote the introduction of step free access at local stations.
- Work with TfL & Hermes to redevelop Gunnersbury station and provide step free access.
- Invest in the provision of safer cycling routes and provide support facilities, especially near schools, to encourage people and young people to end the school run and take up cycling.
- Increase enforcement of the 20 mph speed restrictions especially around schools and routes to school.
- Deploy night time enforcement teams to reduce the parking of large vans and HGVs in residential streets.
- Provide more business friendly parking, including stop and shop, in shopping areas and areas where shops and entertainment are part of the evening and night-time economy. Remove unnecessary parking restrictions.
- Review parking arrangements in Hounslow West and Chiswick to ensure that they support the development of thriving businesses.
- Cut the administrative costs of parking by introducing cashless parking throughout the borough.
- Introduce differential parking charges to discourage the use of highly polluting vehicles and encourage a shift to electric vehicles.
- Promote the use of electric vehicles and ensure the availability of charging points as part of all new developments and at transport interchanges.
- Promote the use of car clubs.
- Draft and consult on a new Special Planning Policy that all developments should include better insulation, renewable energy or green roofs.
- Continue to promote the initiative to make Greater London the first National Park City.
- Encourage the completion of the Thames Path.
- Encourage land owners to make Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land more accessible to the public.
- Green the environment and plant more trees.
- Establish a Green Fund to support local residents and community organisations deliver projects that improve our environment
Improving the environment
Action on litter and dumped rubbish
- Establish a more visible response team to tackle litter, graffiti and fly tipping.
- Provide an easy to use app for residents to report flytips and other problems.
- Develop the current scheme of having lay assessors to assist in monitoring street issues by recruiting a team of ‘street captains’ to tap into the community’s ability to
spot environmental problems early.
- Take stauncher action to fine persons who litter or fly tip
- Synchronise the doorstep recycling collections and street cleaning to minimise on-street litter.
- Review street cleaning, how we deal with fly tips and how we involve residents better.
- Provide more litter bins in shopping areas and on major thoroughfares and the use of CCTV to identify those that are involved in fly-tipping.
- Take action on landlords and letting agents for environmental impacts on their tenants.
A greener borough
- Support the Mayor’s plan for an ultra-low emission zone and low emission bus routes to tackle air quality.
- Consult on the introduction of a Clean Air Zone to help protect residents from poor air quality.
- Overhaul doorstep collection to make recycling easier and collect fridges, mattresses and other bulky items to reduce fly tipping.
- Work with local shops and takeaways to promote the use of recyclable and bio-degradable packaging in place of Styrofoam burger boxes, plastic straws etc.
- Campaign for a better, not bigger Heathrow seeking action to reduce traffic volumes and emissions and compensation for residents that suffer the effects of aircraft noise.
- Monitor and address local pollution hot spots, especially near schools.
- Draft a green procurement policy to increase the use of renewal products, packaging and resources.
- Promote the use of local freecycling websites.
- Work with public sector partners, schools and local businesses to increase the use of solar panels and establish a local renewable energy cooperative to reduce the cost of energy, particularly for families on modest incomes
Transforming the local council
The Council, how we work and take decisions
- Protect residents from Conservative austerity policies: no cuts in older peoples care, no library closures, no building on parks or greenbelt and no council tax rise unless absolutely necessary.
- Transform the ‘customer experience’ of residents, with name badges for all staff and all phones and emails answered within published response times.
- Ensure the Council becomes an advocate for the interests of residents on key issues like Heathrow, air quality and health establishing Hounslow as a listening, popular and campaigning council.
- Make Hounslow less bureaucratic and more responsive by undertaking a fundamental review of the powers and decision-making of the council and devolve or delegate greater responsibilities including spending decisions to local ward councillors and frontline officers.
- Make all council meetings accessible to residents by broadcasting them on the internet and explore new ways of involving residents in decision making.
- Deliver a new programme of Cabinet Question Times across the borough.
- Review council outsourced and managed service contracts to ensure best value, including social value, is delivered from our approach to service delivery.
- Introduce an annual consultation on the work programmes of major contractors (Hounslow Highways, Fusion, Lampton 360 etc.) allowing ward councillors and residents to influence and better target what gets done.
- Follow up the council’s successful escape from the mismanagement of Carillion by overhauling the council’s approach to contract management – ensuring service standards meet residents needs and service commitments are delivered.
- Increase the availability of apprenticeships across the full range of council services and look to promote within the council rather than externally where possible.
Labour Hounslow Manifesto: www.hounslowlabour.co.uk/manifesto