Posts Tagged ‘Peter Wheeler’

Peter Wheeler’s alternative conference guide

24/09/2011, 10:46:57 AM

Conference wouldn’t be conference without Peter Wheeler’s gonzo guide to surviving the week – get your fill of the best boozers, events and eateries Liverpool has to offer. And keep an eye out for Peter on your travels.

PW Conf Guide 2011a

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Wheeler Briefing: stop the great Tory seat robbery

08/03/2011, 07:45:35 AM

by Peter Wheeler

On Friday last week, the boundary commissions for England, Wales Scotland and Northern Ireland, each announced the start of the process of reviewing the boundaries of the Parliamentary constituencies on which we will (probably) fight the next general election.

This review will be conducted in line with the recent Parliamentary voting and constituencies bill, and is the Tories’ reward for agreeing to a referendum on AV.


Since 1944, independent Parliamentary boundary commissions have conducted periodic reviews of the boundaries of Parliamentary constituencies. The review launched on Friday is the sixth. Each country in the UK has its own boundary commission, which submits a report directly to Parliament, the reviews happening roughly every 10 years and coming into effect at the election after they have been accepted.

The boundary commission would publish provisional recommendations for boundaries, usually on a county or London borough basis. These would be open to public comment and, usually a public enquiry, before the boundary commission published its final proposals. Currently, the boundary commission is required to come up with seats that are roughly equal in electorates (around 68,715 in England ) but is also required to take a number of other factors into account , for example:

  • local government boundaries ;
  • geography
  • community ties (more…)
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Wheeler briefing: the government’s plans for social housing

16/12/2010, 03:00:09 PM

by Peter Wheeler

The government is consulting on proposed changes to the provision of social housing. These proposals can be downloaded from the department for communities and local government at and responses need to be returned by January 17 to housing

Many of the proposals are permissive, allowing councils and housing associations to make changes rather than compelling them.


Security of Tenure

Existing tenancies would remain as now, although the government is asking if tenants who move should be given one of the new fixed term tenancies. Councils and housing associations will be able to give fixed term tenancies, with a minimum period of two years. These tenancies will be at social rent levels.


Rights to succeed to a tenancy for new tenants will be standardised for council and housing association tenants. Spouse/partner will have an automatic right to succeed (as long as the spouse/partner wasn’t a successor). Children and anyone else will be up to the landlord.

Affordable Rents

The government plan to introduce a new “affordable Rent” for housing associations to offer to new tenants from April 2011. These will be short term tenancies at a rent higher than the current social rent level – up to 80% of local market rents.


Councils will no longer have to have ”open” short-lists, but central government will decide priorities.


There will be a nationwide home swap scheme to improve mobility.


Councils will be able to meet their duty to the homeless with an offer of suitable private rental accommodation.

Council Housing Finance

Current arrangements will change to a self-financing arrangement with councils keeping all the rent money they raise and spend it locally on services.


1. That the changes are permissive means that the decisions ostensibly will be taken locally. Labour needs a clear, consistent policy to respond to these changes at a local government level.

2. The attack on security of tenure reflects the Tory view that social housing is “poverty housing”. Depending on the criteria adopted we could see tenants moved on at the end of two years if their circumstances improve.

3. This will act as a disincentive to people improving their conditions, make it harder to develop strong communities and risk creating ghettos of poverty.

4. Restrictions on succession raise the possibility of families being evicted on the death of a parent.

5. “Affordable Rents” could see major increases in rents for new tenants. Perversely, much of the increase will be met by housing benefit. Setting rents in this way means the level of housing association rents can be skewed by local areas of affluence. Salford Quays, for example, will artificially inflate the average rent level. It appears that this provision only applies to housing associations/Almos.

6. The changes to housing finance appear to allow cash-strapped councils to use rent revenue to subsidise other services.

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Peter Wheeler’s alternative conference guide

24/09/2010, 03:38:42 PM

PWFP Guide

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The nuts and bolts of what we need to do, by Peter Wheeler

13/09/2010, 12:56:09 PM

Over the next couple of weeks, Labour party members will get plenty of voting practice as we vote for a new leader, national executive committee members and members of the national policy forum. In London, members will also be voting for a candidate for mayor.

The key vote will obviously be for our new Leader but that leader is going to need a party behind him which is strong, dynamic and well organised. A party which encourages the efforts of members to build support in their communities and recognises the central role our members play in winning for our party.

It is the national executive which is responsible for ensuring that happens and that’s why the elections are important.

CLP reps are elected for two years and the next two years will be crucial for the party. The conservative coalition could last five years but it would be a big mistake to count on that. The Lib Dems are not exactly known for discipline under fire and it wouldn’t be impossible for Cameron to decide that they had served their purpose and ditch them for an early election if he thought he could win it. I am not saying it will happen, but it could, and we need to factor the possibility in. (more…)

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