Land Reform in England & Wales 1

Good news in the Labour Election Manifesto published today – the first signs of a land reform agenda for England and Wales!

In Chapter 9 pages 103 – 105 of the Manifesto the Labour Party write the following: –

Building from the neighbourhood up

People want a sense of control over their own neighbourhood. Not a new tier of neighbourhood government, but new powers over the problems that confront them when they step outside their front door issues like litter, graffiti and anti-social behaviour.That is why we will offer neighbourhoods a range of powers from which they can choose,

* New powers for parish councils to deal with anti-social behaviour.
* Powers for local people to trigger action in response to persistent local problems.
* Community funds for local neighbourhoods to spend on local priorities.
* New opportunities for communities to assume greater responsibility or even ownership of community assets like village halls,community centres, libraries or recreational facilities.

Good parish councils engage communities and make a real difference, so we will extend the right to establish parish councils to communities in London.

OK – it’s not land reform and the Manifesto fails to commit to a Community right to Buy Act for the whole of the UK – something that the Social Enterprise Coalition has been campaigning for but at least the minimal committment opens up the debate in England and Wales which is welcome.

Congratulations to all those organisations who have been lobbying for such a committment – particularly the Social Enterprise Coalition and the Development Trusts Association. I await sight of the Lib Dem Manifesto.

PS – the Conservative manifesto is silent on the topic.