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Iain Dalton handing over the TUSC petition to Cllr Lewis

Iain Dalton handing over the TUSC petition to Cllr Lewis. photo – Leeds TUSC

On Tuesday 2nd June, representatives of Leeds TUSC met with Cllr Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive member for Regeneration, Transport and Planning and other council officials to discuss our recent deputation.

Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party

In that deputation, TUSC supporters raised issues around private sector housing, calling for a mass council house building programme, and the introduction of a council-run not-for-profit letting agency. We have also been collecting petition signatures to the same effect.

We raised of criticisms of the lack of new council house building going on in the city, whilst recognising the situation in national government with a slim Tory majority is not conducive to that, we believe the council should be campaigning for the funding necessary to implement a mass council house building programme, given the huge council house waiting list of over 20,000.

The council reprsentatives were defensive about the measures they’ve taken so far, putting £100m aside for new council house developments, as well as securing cross-party agreement for lobbying government for the ability to borrow to build new council housing.

Whilst that is perhaps a baby-step in the right direction, we had a more positive response to our call for the council to set-up a not-for-profit letting agency – which they said they would propose the council’s executive board explore, recognising the situation that a proportion of renters find themselves in as well as noting the establishment of not-for-profit letting agencies in other parts of the country.

Obviously, we await the councils final proposals on this which we will keep supporters updated with. In the meantime, we’ve been supplied with feasibility study materials from the Student Socialist society at York Uni to pass on to the council to help make our case, and we encourage people to continue to ask people to sign the petition as your signatures will be sent directly to those responsible for exploring this proposal.