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January All Members Meeting was held on Friday 11 January at St Marks Church Hall, Hall Road.

The discussion topic was the Norwich City Council manifesto for the elections in May. We had hoped also to have a round-up from Clive Lewis on Brexit and the critical week ahead, but Greater Anglia let us down, with two trains from London cancelled and no chance for Clive to get to the meeting on time.

100 Club – this month’s winners were Beth Jones, who wins £203, and Keith Ratcliffe, who wins £87. If you would like to join, contact Nick Williams on – the prizes may not be so big as the National Lottery, but the odds are considerably better, and raises valuable funds for our CLP.

Towards the Norwich City Council Labour Group Manifesto 2019

Following an introduction from Alan Waters, Leader of the City Labour Group, Gail Harris (Deputy Leader) talked briefly about her own area of responsibility, housing, and some of the issues faced here, and actions taken.

Challenges include

  • Forced sales of voids – fortunately this has been discontinued because it has proved unworkable
  • Enhanced right-to-buy – the City has lost hundreds of homes because of this
  • Revenue cap
  • Enforced 1% rent decrease for all tenants – a tiny amount of money each week for each tenant, but leading cumulatively to a loss of revenue for the council of £300m

Some recent actions taken

  • Fire safety in city council tower blocks (8 blocks), following Grenfell – none have cladding, but front doors were replaced as required following inspection
  • Invested in software, Better Off Norwich – people can input their own details to find out about eligible benefits etc – £millions have been identified
  • House building has continued – not easy. Goldsmith Street, Rayne Park, ex housing office on Bullard Road, development of the Mile Cross depot

Goldsmith Street featured in the Guardian’s write-up of the best art and architecture of 2019 in early January, where it was described as one of the most impressive council-led developments – “a scheme of 100 new homes designed as brick terraces along a traditional street pattern. Boldly led by Norwich city council, without a developer or housing association, the homes have been designed to Passivhaus energy standards – and will all be for social rent.”

Gail (who was shortlisted for 2018 Councillor of the year – congratulations from NLP!) – stressed that people are at the heart of everything that the council does.

Members then divided up into groups to discuss different aspects, with the relevant City Councillors and cabinet members at each table. As well as addressing a specific aspect of the manifesto, members could also list their overall priorities for the council.

Click here to read the full feedback from the table discussions – I will be pulling together a summary over the next few days, but it’s clear that members place a high priority on housing and homelessness, secure employment, improved (and cleaner) public transport, plus encouragement for local business and training, tackling drugs and anti-social behaviour, and wider issues of social inclusion. See next week’s newsletter for a proper summary.

Our next All Members Meeting will be on Friday 8 February, at St Marks Church Hall, Hall Road NR1 3HL, starting at 7.30pm.

We will be discussing Universal Credit.

There will also be motions from Nelson BLP (Brazil) and Eaton & University (Appointing a BuLO).

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