Action needed on Sunderland housing

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It was a real treat to see the smiling faces of two Portfolio Holders on Sunderland Council in the Sunderland Echo recently when discussing housing policy.

One was the Council’s Housing Champion, Coun Graeme Miller, the political lead on the Housing Strategy for Sunderland 2017-2022, in which was included as one of the key areas identified, the following aspiration: “ A need for more executive homes for people in higher income groups to stop them leaving the city.”

Has the penny just dropped?

Labour has been running Sunderland Council for more than 40 years and this requirement has been blindingly obvious for decades, as council tax receipts are dominated by lower band properties

Then we had Coun Michael Mordey very happy that the council was going to enforce the sale of empty properties.

Well good for him, but about time too.

Compulsory Purchase Orders, for example, have been around for years and other councils have already used this power.

The big problem with both these Portfolio Holders is that at recent Full Council Meetings, I introduced a non-partisan motion for debate on housing, where, among many other points, I mentioned both these very important issues and thought it was time for action.

And guess who joined their Labour colleagues to actually vote against my suggestions, which they are now publically advocating? None other than Coun Miller and Coun Mordey.

Petty party politics or a sensible debate on housing? There was going to be only one winner with the Sunderland Labour Council.

Coun Michael Dixon,

St Michael’s Ward