Sudden end to council debate on Norwich housing

A government commitment to build 150,000 affordable homes over the course of its parliament sparked a bizarrely constrained debate at Norwich City Council last night.

Judith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat councillor for Eaton, put forward a motion that the city council should write to the city's two MPs welcoming the coalition government's policy - because it would help some of the 8,000 plus people on the housing waiting list in Norwich.

She said Norwich was well placed to benefit - with the �4.5bn capital investment for the homes supported by a New Homes Bonus which would generate extra cash for councils which do build social housing.

But Brenda Arthur, Labour's cabinet member for housing, hit back, saying more homes would have been built under the former government's plans, councils would have been given more freedom by handing councils full control of the housing revenue account and that it was unfair that increased rents for social housing tenants would be used to raise money for new building.

Green Party councillor Graeme Gee also questioned how much of the �4.5bn would actually end up being spent on the homes, although Conservative leader Andrew Wiltshire said the policy would bring to an end a long period of the loss of affordable housing.


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However, before the council could vote on the motion, council leader Steve Morphew invoked part of the council's constitution and proposed that the council moved to any other business.

With Labour and Green councillors, who make up the majority of the council, voting to move on, it meant the council meeting ended without the motion being voted on, to the frustration of the Lib Dems and the Conservatives.

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