With many of the more controversial motions ruled out of order by the Conference Arrangements Committee, probably the most interesting was a contemporary resolution calling for council housing to be given a “level playing field” when it comes to funding. At the moment, tenants are effectively penalised if they vote against transferring the housing stock out of council ownership and management.
We are still waiting for the results of the card vote, but it looked like it was passed by a fairly solid majority (as similar motions have in previous years) on the floor.
However, there is no sign of progress in government policy. Last year, John Prescott promised a review, but when the motion was passed he petulantly declared that the promise had only held true if the conference had not voted for a level playing field.
The issue rarely makes wave in the media – not too many journalists live in social housing – but is causing huge problems in areas where tenants have voted against stock transfer, such as Birmingham – the largest local authority in Europe.
We hope that the next deputy leader will be more inclined to listen.
Update: Results of the card vote show that not only was the motion carried by a large margin, but that the CLP delegates – usually fairly pliant for the leadership – only backed the platform by the slim margin of 8000 votes, equivalent to 8 CLPs. Support for a level playing field has grown at every successive conference and the government are close to losing their fig leaf defence that the CLPs don’t back a change in policy.