At the July meeting of Oldham’s full council, the Labour Group led the way on two motions seeking the council’s commitment to campaign for residents on issues that can fundamentally affect local quality of life.
Cllr Valerie Leach proposed a motion committing the council to working with the Unfair Evictions campaign led by Generation Rent, the New Economics Foundation and renters’ unions, to bring about the abolition of what are known as Section 21 no-fault evictions. Seconded by Cllr Fielding, the motion highlighted the danger created for residents from such evictions, where a renter can be forced out of their home at the end of a fixed term tenancy for any reason, without necessarily first having somewhere to go. Oldham Labour will be working to ban these evictions as part of our work to support renters more generally in enacting their rights and challenging bad landlords.
The second motion saw the council call on the government to reinstate the funding to the BBC to enable the retention of the free colour TV licence for all over 75’s. There is firm evidence that many older residents do not claim all of the benefits to which they are entitled, meaning there is significant risk that tying the TV licence to benefit receipts may leave some some going without. While the council is building a wide range of activities for older people to reduce social isolation, it remains the case that access to television is a significant benefit for older people. By reducing funding to the BBC and shifting the burden of the decision, the Conservative government is reducing the quality of life for many at-risk older residents. Oldham Labour, led by Cllr George Hulme and Cllr Jean Stretton, are speaking up on the issue and will be working with the borough’s three MPs to see the government’s decision changed.