Last chance for council chiefs to prevent Brexit

Just 24 hours left for inner-city council chiefs to come clean and admit that the effect of their local planning policies has been to cause inner city decay, and that this is not the fault of EU regulation.

Southwark ToLet

To draw the conclusion that these local policies have created a class of dispossessed, with little access to “stepping stone” jobs, who experience the prospect of the cushion of welfare being systematically reduced and local services stretched by unplanned immigration.

To accept that this dispossessed class has looked for reasons behind its declining living standards and made a connection between their lower quality of life and the EU’s trading and freedom of movement rules.

To confess to being “intensely relaxed” about regions of poverty and lack of opportunity emerging in the inner city, because these regions are associated by politicians with shoring up a pre-booked vote for the left at local and national level for these wards and constituencies.

To confess that many local library closures are really the result of a loss of footfall, as surrounding local shops have been lost, making these areas less appealing as destinations and making these libraries appear “less popular” when reviewing funding of local services.

To accept responsibility for the lower quality of life which has made so many low-income workers desperate for some kind of significant change, and therefore inclined to vote Brexit.

To pledge fundamental policy change, promising to encourage and protect local businesses and employment by:

  1. increasing the cost for resident parking permits
  2. reducing the number of resident permits available and introducing needs-testing to qualify for these permits
  3. ensuring there is enough free short stay parking in side streets to equate to one space for every high street business
  4. issue a moratorium on all shop-to-residential conversions for two years until these changes had have a chance to take effect
  5. forcing all commercial landlords to advertise their premises for at least 6 months on their local council website before applying for conversion to residential or other change of use
  6. forcing disclosure of all offers received for properties advertised
  7. issuing compulsory purchase notices where landlords refuse to advertise or tenant empty commercial premises, to discourage “hanging on” for a conversion-to-residential bonanza
  8. conducting regular resident surveys to test whether there is demand for better quality or a wider range of local goods, services or jobs
  9. if the answer to (8) is “yes”, compel local landlords to let their empty properties for the highest offer, even if this offer is £1 per month, on pain of compulsory purchase
  10. replacing the strategy of commuter-based food and drink local economies with one where the council actively encourages businesses in all sectors to locate in the inner city, and explores ways for a support economy to evolve in the inner city which supplies services directly to professional services firms in the centre, other than sandwich deliveries

The promise of fundamental economic change within our sovereign powers inside the EU, and the delivery of the pound of flesh demanded by a dispossessed class, would replace the urge to use the Referendum to “send a message” which would not otherwise be heard.

This act of contrition and pledge for change by council chiefs would surely confirm a Remain vote beyond doubt.



Brexit, Local Government and you

Many Brexit voters are desperate for something to change. The perception is that having tried everything, only shaking the foundation will now do.

Many low-waged or unemployed British citizens feel the pain of an unplanned influx of migrants apparently keeping wage inflation low, and seeming to have an impact on each existing citizen slice of the public services pie.

Even though we actually retain local sovereign UK powers to counteract these social problems, we sometimes choose not to exercise these sovereign powers.


For example, inner-city councils have a strategy of de-emphasising employment areas and manufacturing, and associating town-centre regeneration solely with a commuter-consumer-focused food, drink and groceries offer.  The result is that there are fewer stepping-stone jobs, and fewer opportunities to progress gradually from low wages to career development and quality of life.

The Southwark Core Strategy actively discourages retail activity outside town centres. This keeps big business dominant and creates barriers to entry for independent entrepreneurs as visitor parking is removed and commercial uses eradicated in more affordable areas.  Fewer local goods and services, and less local employment result.

It can be argued that the Brexit tipping point vote is displacing energy which should be focused on building local employment hand-in-hand with local government.

However, the response from local politicians has been to lecture Brexiteers on the benefits of immigration, rather than acknowledging that there are issues with low wage inflation which are connected with local economies shaped by local planners, more than with evil employers scavenging for cheap labour.

A strange justice for pro-EU councils if we do Vote Leave, and it turns out that the tipping point was based on disaffection with social problems which we had all the resources and sovereignty to solve, at Local Government level.