but deserves to be shown on every Ipswich blog
'A political row has broken out after Labour’s housing spokesman attempted to claim responsibility for changes to regulations that allow Ipswich Borough Council to build new council houses.
When Tory Minister Oliver Letwin visited Ipswich to see the Bader Close site for himself, he praised the Labour housing portfolio holder for taking advantage of changes to the rules around housing and building new council houses.
Yet Cllr John Mowles couldn’t avoid making a partisan attack on the Tories, insisting that it was down to the last Labour Government that they could build new council houses. He was quoted in the Ipswich Star as saying “This is not a Tory government scheme, it is a Labour borough scheme.”
“We are able to do this thanks to a change in the regulations that was originally introduced by the previous Labour government.”
Unfortunately for Cllr Mowles that simply isn’t true.
Former Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Labour’s John Denham MP, did tell the Labour Conference that he was planning to change the regulations. But like so many conference speeches, no changes were actually made to the law to give effect to his speech. Mrs Thatcher used to say that making a speech wasn’t the same as taking action.
The changes to the law that allow the local councils to keep the revenues from rent and use them to build new council houses were introduced in the Localism Act 2011. They came into effect in April 2012. They were introduced by the current Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Tory Eric Pickles MP.
Ipswich’s Tory MP Ben Gummer was distinctly unimpressed by Cllr Mowles statements, telling Ipswich Spy that it simply wasn’t true.
“I am unimpressed with these constant attempts to claim credit where it simply isn’t due. When we came into Government we changed the Housing Revenue Account so they could spend the money, which actually gave them the means to build affordable homes.
“John Denham said he planned to lift the technical restriction but the evidence shows it was simply a conference rabble-rouser, since he didn’t take action. Ipswich Borough Council would not be able to afford to build these homes without the HRA changes that we brought in. The idea that Gordon Brown’s Labour Government would have given up control of housing is comical.”
John Mowles was unavailable for comment.
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