The government has announced plans to end no-fault evictions (by abolishing Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988) and providing free sanitary products to primary schools, but Medway Tories voted against both of these issues when Medway Labour brought them to full council.
As recently as January 2019 Medway Tories voted down Cllr Naushabah Khan’s motion to protect Medway’s renters by abolishing Section 21, despite the fact that Section 21 means a tenant can be evicted at any time, whether or not they have done anything wrong.
In April 2018 Cllr Dan McDonald asked the Conservative Group to agree to address the issue of period poverty in Medway by providing sanitary items to school-aged girls in receipt of free school meals.
The Conservative Group refused to write to the Secretary for Education to urge the government to take action, and denied that period poverty is even an issue in Medway.
Cllr Naushabah Khan, Councillor for Gillingham South and Medway Labour Spokesperson for Housing said, ‘I welcome these announcements from central government, but they just go to show how out of touch the local Conservative Group are from issues that affect residents.
‘The law is currently heavily weighted in favour of landlords, so this announcement is positive news for the 20,000 Medway residents living in rented accommodation. Although most Medway landlords are socially responsible, renters need protection against rouge landlords, and abolishing Section 21 is a good start.
‘Medway Conservative’s knee-jerk reaction to our motion shows that their decision making is ideological and fuelled primarily by a blind faith in the free market, as opposed to the lived reality of Medway residents.’
Cllr Dan McDonald, Councillor for Gillingham South and active advocate for ending period poverty said, ‘It’s astounding that not one, but two, of Medway Labour’s recent motions to council have been adopted nationally, despite them being voted down by the Medway Conservative Group.
‘While the Medway Tories have been burying their heads in the sand over this issue, the Tory government has been progressive enough to act on this widely recognised challenge facing women and girls.
‘Medway Conservatives have shown themselves to be totally out of touch with real issues, and they should feel ashamed about their dismissive and arrogant approach to period poverty.
‘At full council on 26th April I will ask the Conservative portfolio holder to issue an apology to all the young girls let down by the Conservative Group’s short-sighted rejection of our motion to help end period poverty in Medway.’
The motions read as follows:
Full Council 24th January 2019
Labour Group Motion
Cllr Naushabah Khan:
This Council welcomes the campaign to end Section 21 – the clause in the Housing Act 1988 that allows private landlords to evict tenants without reason. We acknowledge the threat of a no-fault eviction causes insecurity and stress for Medway residents who rent privately and can discourage tenants from complaining about substandard housing.
This Council welcomes the action taken by the Scottish Government to restrict no-fault evictions. This Council agrees to write to the Housing Minister urging the government to abolish this unfair section of the Housing Act 1988. Further, this Council will urge our local Members of Parliament to support this campaign in Parliament.
Generation Rent campaign:
Full Council 26th April 2018
Labour Group Motion
Cllr Dan McDonald:
This Council recognises that children in Medway, in much the same way as those from across the United Kingdom, are suffering from period poverty as a result of being unable to afford menstrual products. This has far reaching effects; research from the charity Freedom4Girls has shown that thousands of young women are missing school every month, and a survey by Plan International UK showed that one in ten women or girls aged 14 to 21 in Britain cannot afford sanitary towels.
This Council wishes to place on record its clear and unwavering commitment to tackling and ending period poverty in Medway. No girl should be marginalised or made to suffer because they cannot afford menstrual products.
As a result, this Council will:
- Write to The Right Honourable Damian Hinds MP, Secretary of State for Education, to express our support for the government providing free menstrual products for all school girls who are in receipt of free school meals;
- Conduct a review of the Council’s budget with the aim of providing funding for all of Medway’s schools and academies to provide menstrual products for all school girls who are in receipt of free school meals.
Medway Conservative’s knee-jerk reaction to our motion shows that their decision making is ideological and fuelled primarily by a blind faith in the free market, as opposed to the lived reality of Medway residents. Cllr Naushabah Khan, Councillor for Gillingham South and Medway Labour Spokesperson for Housing
Medway Conservatives have shown themselves to be totally out of touch with real issues, and they should feel ashamed about their dismissive and arrogant approach to period poverty. Cllr Dan McDonald, Councillor for Gillingham South and active advocate for ending period poverty