Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Time up for bad landlords

Private landlords are not all bad. There are excellent landlords in Crumpsall providing a first-rate service to their tenants and contributing to making Crumpsall a good place to live.But when landlords are bad the impact they have can be nothing short of disastrous not only for their tenants but also for residents in adjacent properties, and unfortunately Crumpsall also has its share of appalling private landlords. The City Council has campaigned for years for more powers to tackle this problem and has had a small success in gaining powers to introduce selective licensing of private landlords in certain parts of the city. Crumpsall was originally intended to be in phase 3 of selective licensing but today, the City Council's Executive agreed to merge phase 2 with phase 3, put more resources into it, and with a bit of luck have selective licensing in place in Crumpsall by the end of the year. This should cause no problem for the many good landlords but hopefully spell the end for the rogues !

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Don't tar us all with the same brush

Once again the reputations of politicians are being dragged through the mud because of the actions of a small number of MPs abusing the system to favour members of their families. I am sure this is infuriating for the vast majority of MPs who's conduct is entirely proper, but it is even more infuriating for Councillors because our reputations are damaged too for something that just couldn't happen in local government. For one thing, any support staff for Councillors [ and we don't have a lot ] are employed by the Council itself, not by individual Councillors. For a second, Councillors have to publicly declare any close relative employed anywhere in the Council, and would have to exclude themself from any appointment for which a relative or close friend was a candidate. The problem is not with politicians in general, but with parliament which still runs itself like a Victorian gentlemens' club rather than as a modern legislature . No wonder that not only do we get scandal after scandal but whichever party is in power we get poor scrutiny of the Executive and poor scrutiny of legislation. What this country needs is fundamental reform of parliament to give us transparent and democratic government fit for the 21st century.