Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Can't even get this right

There has been a campaign, launched, I understand, by Edinburgh University Students' Association, to overturn a decision by the Scottish Government on Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). Couple of difficulties -

1. The campaign was launched after the consultation closed.

2. The decision hasn't been made yet.

Oh - maybe a third problem - the draft guidance to local authorities doesn't say what the Association says it does.

The draft guidance stresses that local authorities should respond to their local circumstances and plan accordingly. It states explicitly that planning policies should NOT be used to limit HMOs due to concerns over potential behaviour of the landlord or the tenants.

The draft guidance would not alter current planning policy. It would confirm practices that have been in place since 2004 (planning circular 4/2004) which already pointed out that decisions on HMOs require to be made in accordance with the development plan for the area.

So how could a venerable institution like Edinburgh University Students' Association, using the name of an institution with such a long and honourable history, get something so wrong?

Well, President of the Students' Association at Edinburgh is Josh MacAlister. He's a member of the Labour party - no, it's not political bias on his part, nor even part of his campaign for greater glory.

Poor Josh is a member of the Labour party - can't get anything right.


Neil said...

To be honest, it's a bit disappointing that a serious political blog seeks to use someone's private political views against them when debating an equally serious issue of public policy.

As a former student who lived in HMO accommodation in Edinburgh, I can well remember the sustained campaign of disinformation that a minority of Councilors, led by Lib Dem Marlyn Mclaren, waged against student residents in various parts of the city.

We all agree that students contribute to Edinburgh's diversity, economy and status as an international hub of learning but when it comes to housing them....unfortunately the NIMBY's seem to prevail

Will the SNP in Edinburgh stand up to their coalition partners to help students "find a decent house that we can afford in a place where we want to live” (the aim for us all as stated in the Government's own "Firm Foundations” Consultation)? I hope so.

As a voter, this seems a far cry from this time last May when the SNP Manifesto promised a range of incentives, both financial and not, to students...

Calum Cashley said...

If I had thought that Josh had made an honest mistake I'd say you had a point.

I've no time for scaremongering though, it's unnecessarily upsetting - especially for people who should be concentrating on completing an academic year.