Karl Turner MP welcomes u-turn on ‘pay to stay’ policy that would have hiked local rents by an average of £1,038 a year

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Picture: Jerome Ellerby

The Government last night abandoned its controversial ‘pay to stay’ policy, which would have imposed crippling rent hikes on working council tenants.

In Hull the proposal – dubbed the ‘tenant tax’ – would have seen the rents of those affected rise by an average of £1,038 a year.

In a statement released yesterday evening, Housing Minister Gavin Barwell said: “Social housing has a crucial role to play in supporting those in most housing need. To that end, powers were provided for in the Housing and Planning Act 2016 to introduce an income based rents policy, requiring local authorities to set higher rents for higher income council tenants.

“Since the summer, the Government has been reviewing this policy. We have listened carefully to the views of tenants, local authorities and others and as a result, we have decided not to proceed with a compulsory approach. Local authorities and housing associations will continue to have local discretion.”

Responding to the announcement local MP Karl Turner said:

“I am pleased that this disastrous proposal has been ditched, as it would have had a devastating impact on the people of East Hull.

“Families in East Hull would have been subject to the rent hikes, putting a strain on their finances and in all likelihood forcing many out of their homes.

“That is why Labour has opposed this plan from the outset and I strongly welcome this change of heart from the Government.”

Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey added:

“This welcome u-turn is a victory for Labour’s year-long campaign against the ‘tenant tax’ which was set to hike rents for thousands of middle income households.

“Having recognised this move was a big mistake, Ministers must now re-think the rest of their failed housing decisions over the last six years.

“After disastrous figures last week showing that the number of new affordable homes for social rent has fallen to the lowest level since records began, top of the list must be reversing the forced sale of vital council homes and the huge cuts to investment in new genuinely affordable homes.”

An Open Letter to Constituents on Brexit

Dear Constituent,

Last week the High Court held that the Government could not use its Royal Prerogative to invoke Article 50 and that it would be Parliament that has the final say on when Article 50 is invoked. This is the procedure which effectively starts the divorce proceeding from the European Union by giving notice to the remaining 27 member states.

I have received many emails and letters from constituents seeking my position and I would like to take this opportunity to reply.

Some sections of the right wing media and Parliamentarians who really should know better have used the judgment to sow the seeds of division. It is important to note that the High Court judgment was unanimous and independent of outside influence.

Labour accepts and respects the referendum result and recognises that the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union. But the role of Parliament in deciding how we exit is vital. One of the central arguments put forward for leaving the European Union was taking back control of our sovereignty, the High Court judgment makes sure that Parliament is indeed sovereign and that should surely be celebrated.

I campaigned to remain in the European Union because I thought that staying within would be best for jobs and growth in Hull. The European Union has directly invested millions into our local economy and this can be seen in the Siemens blade factory, the new Spencer Group development on Bankside in East Hull as well as our fantastic stadium facilities at Hull KR which was built using money from the European Union Regional Development Grant Funding.

Despite this, I absolutely and categorically respect the majority of people in East Hull who voted to leave the European Union. I consider it my duty to make sure your voice is heard loudly and clearly. So if the Supreme Court upholds the decision of the High Court, I will not frustrate the process by voting against triggering Article 50.

To be clear, I will give my full backing to the Government in their endeavours to leave the European Union. During the negotiation period between the Government and the European Union, I will do all that I can do to make sure the best deal is delivered for people in East Hull. This means proper protections on employment rights such as maternity and paternity leave, statutory sick pay as well as crucially important health and safety legislation. We need a fair deal for East Hull coming out of these negotiations.

I am determined that East Hull does not lose out in this process and that our great city continues to flourish. I look forward to working with my colleagues across political divides in Parliament to scrutinise the Government’s plans and seek the best deal for Hull.

Yours truly.

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Karl Turner MP

Pressure From Karl Turner Changes Government Policy on Sexual Assault Referrals to Military Police

karl paint
Picture: Jerome Ellerby

The Government today announced a small change to the law that will have a massive impact on many women and men in the military.

Schedule 2 of the Armed Forces Act lists the crimes that are automatically referred by a Commanding Officer to the Military Police. Currently sexual assault, voyeurism, exposure and sex in a public lavatory are excluded from the mandatory referrals process.

Karl Turner MP has consistently called for the the four named offences to be included in the mandatory referrals process in order to safeguard members of the armed forces who put their lives on the line to protect our country.

Speaking after the announcement Karl Turner, Labour MP for East Hull said “This change in Government policy shows that when pressure is applied to the Government and the topic is kept on the agenda, Labour can make a difference in opposition.

“It is not right that these crimes, which are serious in nature, are exempt from the referrals process that is used by the armed forces. We must make sure that all of our armed forces are able to go to work in a safe and secure environment, knowing that if they have a complaint, that this will be taken seriously and not subject to effective veto from a Commanding Officer”.

You can see the announcement made in the House of Commons chamber here

You can read Karl’s contributions to this policy area below:

List of Questions to the Ministry of Defence

Service Prosecution Authority – Oral Question

 

 

Karl Turner Attends RMT Demo In Support For Southern Dispute

Karl Turner yesterday joined RMT protesters in Parliament to show support in the Southern Trains dispute that has been brought as a result of dangerous proposed changes to train guards on Southern Trains.

The union is engaged in a bitter dispute with GTR southern who are seeking to remove conductors / guards and extend Driver Only Operation (DOO) to all its services. There have been 15 days of strike action with seven more days scheduled in the run up to Christmas beginning this week.

The government have refused repeated requests to meet the union and in a recent report the Transport Select Committee also felt obliged to tell the government to meet the union and said there was  case for Southern to be stripped of the franchise.

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