Local business at heart of Labour plan to revive Southport high streets

Southport retailers, residents and Labour campaigners have been discussing how to save local high streets as part of Small Business Saturday.

Shadow Treasury Minister Peter Dowd MP and Labour’s candidate for the town, Liz Savage, were out and about as part of a Labour campaign to listen to local concerns, asking how it can help and explaining its plans to assist small business owners and troubled high streets.

Speaking to local retailers and residents at the opening of Santa’s Grotto in Wayfarer Arcade on Lord St, Liz Savage heard that the government’s much-trumpeted plan to reduce the business rates will actually leave most shops on the town’s premier retail destination completely untouched. 

Liz Savage explained:

“High business rates is the number one problem Lord St retailers have complained to me about. Yet the government, which sets the rates in the first place, proposes a solution which leaves many of the retailers here in exactly the same boat as their premises are above the low ceiling the government has set for assistance.”

“It’s great the government is finally listening to our calls to look again at business rates but it doesn’t go anywhere near the level of reform we want to see. To qualify businesses must have a rateable value below £51,000, so this won’t really help Lord St and it’s misleading of the local MP to claim it will.”

The team also visited Birkdale Village to talk to local business owners to explain Labour’s plans and listen to residents concerned about recent closures such as the RBS bank branch, which shut its doors for the last time at the start of last month.

Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Peter Dowd said Labour’s plans received a warm welcome in the village: Continue reading “Local business at heart of Labour plan to revive Southport high streets”

Government must launch inquiry into leasehold “con-trick” says Labour’s Liz.

Southport’s Labour Candidate Liz Savage has backed local home-owners feeling ripped off by leasehold contracts and calls for a government inquiry into the scandal of mis-sold leasehold houses.

Latest figures available reveal that of nearly 47,000 new build homes in the North West sold as leasehold between 2010 -2017, 63% of them were houses, not flats.

Staggeringly, the North West also made up nearly exactly the same percentage of the total number of new build houses that were sold as leasehold nationally during the same period.

The arrangement, which is traditionally most common for flats, means homes are bought but also leased rather than entirely owned, with leaseholders often paying a ‘ground rent’ as well as service charges to the property freeholder, or to a managing agent acting on their behalf.

Homeowners who purchased the leasehold of their property are often locked into contracts forcing them to seek permission to make basic alterations or to build extensions such as conservatories, even if no local authority planning permission is required.

Some leaseholders find they’re obliged to pay extortionate ground rents, while others are locked into rip-off service charges. Many didn’t choose their own solicitor and feel they were poorly advised when purchasing their home.

Liz Savage.

Southport Labour’s Liz Savage says with numbers rising nationally and over 29,500 new build houses sold as leasehold in the North West since 2010, it’s time for an inquiry into what she believes is yet another mis-selling scandal:

“Leasehold for houses is little more than a con trick as far as I’m concerned. There’s no justification for it and I think it’s little more than a way of duping unsuspecting home-owners out of more cash and possibly even their home.”

“Leasehold for flats is perhaps more understandable when there is shared occupancy and responsibility but it still needs to be made clear when purchasing what it entails. For houses though it makes no sense at all; it isn’t expected or understood and it needs to stop.”

Survey data suggests almost six in ten leaseholders didn’t understand what being a leaseholder meant until they had already purchased the property, and more than nine in ten leaseholders regret buying a leasehold property at all. A total of 4.3 million properties across England – almost one in five of all homes – are now classified as leasehold.

In the House of Commons this week, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, John Healey MP, challenged government ministers to set up an inquiry into the mis-selling of leasehold homes, saying:

“Leaseholders find they’ve bought their home but still don’t own it, and many feel ripped off by unfair leasehold contracts. This is a national scandal but the Government’s action to date has been too weak, too slow and has overlooked the plight of existing leaseholders.”

“Ministers must act to back an inquiry into this systematic leasehold misselling, as with other misselling scandals like pensions, endowment mortgages and PPI.

“Leasehold for houses is little more than a con trick as far as I’m concerned. There’s no justification for it” – Liz Savage

 

Southport Hospital trust “catastrophic failures” risk as vital repairs pile up under Tories

Liz Savage on our recent march in support of Southport Hospital.

A soaring backlog of “high” or “significant” risk maintenance repair is threatening Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust’s capability.

New figures reveal that the trust’s repair bill backlog for maintenance in the categories has nearly doubled in just three years.

The NHS defines ‘high risk’ maintenance as work that is so pressing that it “must be addressed with urgent priority in order to prevent catastrophic failure”.

The local NHS trust’s repair bill for unaddressed high or significant risk work now stands at £2,154,600, a near 100% increase during the period from the previous £1,081,100.

The trust is currently struggling under a £29 million deficit due to lack of government funding and is in the process of reviewing its future options.

Liz Savage, Labour’s candidate for Southport, says the new figures show how little the government or the town’s Conservative MP really care about the NHS or local residents:

” The government’s record on this is shocking and they are playing with the safety of Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust patients and staff  – so why isn’t Damien Moore calling for Tory cuts to be cancelled? ”

“ The Tories are betraying the NHS and Southport. We’re all being let down by a government that won’t pay for the vital basic repairs needed ”

” Our doctors and nurses in Southport and Ormskirk work extremely hard to look after us and the people we love, while the government is then putting us and the people who care for us into potential danger. It’s appalling.

“ Worryingly, just like with police funding, Damien Moore still hasn’t called on Theresa May to cancel the cuts she’s got planned for the next four years. ”

Southport Labour NHS 70th birthday marchers

“If you’re the MP for this area but you don’t support its people and its public services, then you’ve fundamentally failed. ”

Continue reading “Southport Hospital trust “catastrophic failures” risk as vital repairs pile up under Tories”

Southport MP warned he “cannot vote for police cuts again” as Merseyside crime soars.

Southport Tory MP warned he “cannot vote for police cuts again” as Merseyside crime soars.

Crime figures for the Merseyside force area have jumped once again as its embattled police service struggles to cope with cuts to officer numbers.

Figures just released by the Office of National Statistics show that from June 2017 to June 2018, police recorded crime in Merseyside increased by 12 percent. Worryingly, weapons possession leapt by 46% while violence went up by 25% and public order offences by 26%.

Since the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in coaltion cut £2.3 billion in police funding, with £100’s of millions more cut in real terms by the Conservatives alone since, the number of Merseyside police officers has fallen by 23% with over 1,000 cut, roughly 1 in 4 officers lost.

The number of Police Community Support Officers in the force area has nearly halved during the same period, falling by 43%. Continue reading “Southport MP warned he “cannot vote for police cuts again” as Merseyside crime soars.”

Southport MP asked “what are you hiding?” after voting to keep Universal Credit report from public.

Southport’s Conservative MP Damien Moore has been slammed for helping conceal government analysis of the impact of Universal Credit from the general public.

The Tory politician voted with the government last night to refuse to release the report on the effects of the highly criticised system in the town and across the country. He has been a strong backer of Univeral Credit claiming:

” The Government have purposefully managed a careful and controlled Universal Credit roll-out… Universal Credit is simple and fair and will be effective for the whole country. ”

Labour had sought that the impact analysis report was released to the public so that the full picture surrounding Universal Credit could emerge but the Conservatives and allies in the DUP voted it down by 299 to 279.

Continue reading “Southport MP asked “what are you hiding?” after voting to keep Universal Credit report from public.”