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National HMO Lobby



The National HMO Lobby
Dr Richard Tyler
Co-ordinator, National HMO Lobby
Presentation to APPG Balanced & Sustainable Communities, London, 27 June 2007

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Balanced & Sustainable Communities held its first formal meeting on 27 June 2007. The meeting was chaired by Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods MP (City of Durham) and attended by eight other MPs, Greg Mulholland (Leeds NW), Alan Whitehead (Southampton Test), John Denham (Southampton Itchen), Dai Davies (Blaenau Gwent), Jim Cousins (Newcastle-upon-Tyne Central), Steve Williams (Bristol West), Diana Johnson (Hull North) and Lord Cameron. (The Group comprises some sixty MPs.) The meeting was also attended by representatives of the National HMO Lobby, the Co-ordinator, Jerry Gillen from Southampton and Hilda Puttick from Loughborough.

Dr Whitehead reported on 'Progress of the Group so far'. He referred especially to recent events in the Commons, the Early Day Motion, the Ten Minute Rule Bill and the Adjournment Debate. Dr Blackman-Woods has also asked to see the Minister for Planning.

The Co-ordinator spoke about the National HMO Lobby, the organisation, its activities, its objectives, and what it sought from the APPG [see summary below].

Greg Mulholland led a discussion on 'Embracing the wider remit of the Group'. All those present contributed. Reference was made, not only to students, but also to HMO problems posed by other groups. The consensus was that the issue for the Group was broadening its remit, without losing focus. Dr Blackman-Woods proposed that a revised 'Purpose' should refer to HMOs, to transient populations, and to the need for instruments to restore balance.

The Group will meet again in October.

Dr Richard Tyler
The National HMO Lobby
The National HMO Lobby began in 2000, it has expanded steadily since then (usually half-a-dozen members each year), and now numbers fifty groups in thirty towns, in all the regions of England and all the countries of the UK. Our purpose of course is lobbying, but equally important is that we offer our members a sense of solidarity and an avenue for information. We keep in touch regularly by email, and we are also able to meet occasionally at conferences; Nottingham hosted our own meeting in February this year. The establishemtn of the APPG was an enormous boost to that sense of solidarity. Information is posted on our website and includes Briefing Bulletins and Discussion Documents. The former are concerned with HMOs, Studentification, Local Plans, a Ten Point Plan and the PRS. The latter are concerned with Balanced Communities, Discipline and Sustainability. We have provided evidence both to Universities UK's Studentification: a guide (2006) and to NUS's Students in the Community (2007).

On the campaigning front, we promote our perspective at national conferences, including Unipol's in 2004 and 2006, UUK's in 2006 (twice), and at Scarborough (BURA), Swansea (ASRA) and Norwich (NCC & UEA). Such events have led to continuous media coverage, in the broadsheet press and on national radio and television. The Lobby has participated in national consultations, especially on housing. Most importantly, we have lobbied on national legislation, especially during the passage of the Housing Act 2004, and over amendment of the Use Classes Order. On the latter, we have written frequently to appropriate ministers; in particular, Nottingham met Keith Hill in 2004, and Loughborough met Phil Woolas a few weeks ago.

We continue to support local campaigns for Action Plans on HMOs, Additional Licensing and Planning Policies (see our Ten Point Plan). And nationally, we continue to lobby for amendment of the UCO (including re-definition of HMO, and removal from Class C3). We ask three things of the APPG -
#1 Do keep in touch with the Lobby, and let us know what you are doing - it's enormously encouraging to know our cause is promoted in Parliament.
#2 If your constituency lacks an Action Plan, do support your local community's campaign for one, and lean on the local authortiy and local universities to co-operate.
#3 We are pleased to hear you have contacted the Planning Minister - do consider a tripartite delegation to the minister, comprising not only the APPG, but also the Councillors Campaign for Balanced Communities - and the National HMO Lobby.


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