According to report in today's Echo, this evening, Southend Council were debating the purchase of homes to increase its council housing stock. The planned purchase also included buying homes in neighbouring authorities Castle Point and Rochford as well as in places as far away as Thurrock.
Early on this year, I sat in a debate on the potential impacts of the governments welfare cap when members, who now form the administration, were lining up one by one to criticise London boroughs for buying homes in Southend for their tennents.
By proposing to do the same, this smacks of hypocracy of the highest order should those members who made these comments vote the proposals through. In principle, I believe that trying to increase the social housing stock is a laudable aim considering the chronic housing waiting list that Southend has.
I do however believe in 'Southend homes for Southend residents' and that the purchase of homes should stop at the borough boundary. Should any resident wish to see the outcome of the debate they will be disappointed as it is being held behind closed doors. I do not see why the principle could not be held in public.
If I was a betting man, I suspect that this item is being discussed behind closed doors as the method of payment to purchase these properties will be by borrowing the money and therefore sparing the embarrassment of Cllr Woodley considering his claim at the last full Council meeting that the Council would not fund any new projects from borrowing.