Following the positive results for Portsmouth Labour in the May 2022 council elections, gaining two new councillors and winning the popular vote across the city, the party has now set out its policy priorities and approach to the council administration for the coming year.
As communicated prior to the election, Portsmouth Labour ruled out supporting the Conservatives taking control of running the council. While no formal coalition has been agreed, Labour councillors will continue to support the Lib Dems to run a minority administration. This means Labour can exercise significant influence on the future policy direction of the council, supporting the Lib Dem administration where we agree, but reserving the right to challenge where we don’t feel they’re getting it right.
Portsmouth Labour has put forward a list of 6 policy priorities which it would like to work with the Cabinet to see progressed:
1. Scrap the Tipner West super-peninsula
Portsmouth Labour wants to scrap plans for a luxury, environmentally destructive ‘super-peninsula’ at Tipner West, which the Lib Dem Cabinet have already wasted £18m of taxpayer cash on. We want to see a more reasonable sized development, which avoids building on protected areas and delivers higher levels of genuinely affordable social housing.
2. Pay social care workers the Living Wage
3. Fight Aquind all the way
Portsmouth Labour is committed to fighting Aquind all of the way, including opposing the company’s application for a Judicial Review. We won’t stop until our city is protected for good!
4. Tackle the housing crisis
We want to see landlord licensing for all privately rented accommodation, renters rights strengthened and council land used to build genuinely affordable social housing. Every person deserves a safe and affordable place to live – decent housing is a right!
5. Bring Living Streets to every ward
Portsmouth Labour wants to support residents and businesses to transform under-used spaces into Living Streets, with planters, trees, bike racks, community seating and traffic calming measures. The council can and must play a key role in supporting these kinds of community led initiatives to improve the places we live.
6. Reverse the failed privatisation of council services
These pledges came from a manifesto consultation process involving Labour members, trade unions and hundreds of doorstep conversations with local voters.
As well as pushing the Cabinet to implement our policy priorities, Portsmouth Labour is committed to providing effective scrutiny of how the council is being run. At the council AGM Labour councillors secured Chair positions on 4 out of the 10 scrutiny panels and regulatory committees, while also supporting other opposition councillors for another 2 of those places.
Councillor Cal Corkery, Leader of the Labour Group said: “Our newly expanded Labour Group is ready to push forward on the policies and priorities that matter to local people. We will work with the Lib Dems and other parties when it is in the interests of our city but always reserve the right to speak out when we disagree with their approach.
“Labour councillors have an important role to play in local government, not just in representing our constituents and ensuring council services meet their needs, but also in pushing local authorities to take the innovative and radical action needed to address the economic and environmental crises we face.”
Councillor Charlotte Gerada, Deputy Leader of the Labour Group said: “Whilst we support the Liberal Democrats who run the council on a number of issues, we feel they could be bolder in their approach to tackling the climate crisis and fighting for a more equal Portsmouth.
“That’s why securing more Labour councillors as chairs of relevant committees – such as the Employment Committee – is so important. With these positions, we have an even better chance of fighting to make Portsmouth City Council a Living Wage employer, ensuring everyone working in council services is paid at least the Real Living Wage – this is the absolute minimum they deserve.”