Posted by: westlancashirerecord | November 6, 2017

Is Labour ‘Out Of Touch’ With Concerns Of West Lancashire’s Residents?

 Our West Lancashire councillor Adrian Owens has branded the local Labour council group ‘out of touch’ after they failed to support a council motion to ask the Government to give councils the power to levy business rates on student landlords. The local Labour Council Group ignored the petition of more than 600 local people calling for student landlords to contribute financially to local services

Cllr Owens said “Labour showed themselves out of touch with the concerns of local residents about the unfairness of the current situation where the business model of student landlords draws significantly on local services and yet nothing is paid by landlords towards providing those same local services. Borough and county councils and the local police and fire services face a looming £1.3 million funding shortfall as a result.

Liverpool has a large number of student houses and suffers a large financial shortfall. Labour councillors there raised a similar motion and it was passed unanimously. It’s a matter of conjecture as to why their Labour colleagues in West Lancashire are so out of tune with local residents.

Equally poor were the actions of the Conservatives in walking out of the council meeting half-way through. They left the field of play not only for this motion but for others on Ormskirk’s recent night markets and on the injustices caused to women in their late 50’s and 60’s arising from the equalisation of the state pension age. All these were important matters and yet the so-called ‘main opposition’ had gone home. Residents who voted Conservative deserved better. Independent councillors from Our West Lancashire remained to scrutinise and challenge the ruling Labour group instead”.

Perhaps Labour is waiting for proposals for a Land Value Tax (LVT) as a possible replacement for council tax and business rates, as the party’s manifesto says. They are recommended by many economists because they are considered to be economically efficient. Meanwhile WLBC residents face that loss of income and services will worsen.


  1. Labour have proved themselves to be no different from the vile tories. They’re only out for themselves.

    • There seems to be some lack of positivity that the public are entitled to expect. It’s a national malaise, just look at the grim news we read every day.

  2. For me making students pay for council tax is a step too far. If it were to happen I feel we would be returning to the old days of paying the poll tax, another wonderful conservative conception that quite rightly was abolished. Our students are non tax payers for a reason,(they don’t work full time) So why should they pay council tax? If this burden was passed on then it would either be added to student loans or their parents would have to foot the bill.

    Whilst I sympathise with residents of West Lancs having to suffer the effects of conservative austerity is it really fair of Councillor Owens to ask 18 to 21yr olds who don’t work help plug budget gap of £1.9million in West Lancs bc?

    • More profits for the Student Landlords and more burden to the taxpayer then? In case you hadn’t noticed, Ormskirk is now awash with students that are filling bins that need to be collected and disposed of, benefitting from services as required that must be paid for (by resident taxpayers) and otherwise enjoy the other services of a tax-funded society.

      I find it a little disappointing that you appear to be supporting a society that picks and chooses where responsibility ought to be directed, and in doing so pl;aces the burden once again on the residents (and wider taxpayers) that have already seen the character of their neighbourhood change dramatically, for the benefit mainly of the Edge Hill financial beast and a number of student Landlords who are absolutely £raking it in with their HMO’s and tax breaks.

      Labour. Same old Tories.

    • It isn’t just asking students to pay for council tax, nor is it a poll tax, it’s simply about people paying to use services we, right across the board, especially the other people who don’t work, state pensioners, have to pay from their much reduced and often meagre incomes. Actually Cllr Owens is right to raise the issue in the way he has done, and right to ask the Tory Chancellor of the Exchequer to look at the system and change it to a fairer system for all.

  3. That’s the problem the profit isn’t in the hands of the landlord, the burden would be passed on to the student or their parents. But hey let’s not stop a good bit of student bashing (in Ormskirk) get in the way of a good story!

    • Where is the profit if it isn’t in the hands of landlords? And since you mention student bashing, why is it a lifelong Labour supporter who is writing about the motion? Is she student bashing? No, she’s asked reasonable questions about the unfairness of the whole system.

  4. And here we go with more student bashing, pensioners do receive meagre incomes. But students do not receive any income, why not put a motion forward to tax student loans, to pay for their studies? Oops that what their loans are for, to pay for their studies. Maybe they aren’t paying enough. Here’s a good idea let’s make them pay council tax!

    • We pensioners who receive meagre incomes are some of the same pensioners you now charge, on top of our council tax, to have our green bins emptied. What are our pensions for, other than to feed ourselves and stop us dying of cold in the winter? Your view of students is how poor they are, and I suppose all those student cars parked on pavements and bars catering for poor students are myths? You might start including the word “some” in the case of students and their problems, just as you decided that “some” pensioners should be double charged for a service they already pay for.

  5. Student bashing in Ormskirk is an actual issue just like sexism or racism. Someone really needs to speak out. I’ve knocked on hundreds of doors and can honestly say only a handful speak negatively about students. If you travel this country you will see Edge Hill University being promoted as the best uni in the UK. Can you believe it Ormskirk being put on the map because of Edge Hill? I drive past Edge Hill and say to myself wow, the place looks amazing. I just wish my kids had gone there. Pandering to residents wishes to charge students for council tax is not right. It’s just a mandate to attack students.

    • You are a Labour councillor elected to serve your entire ward electorate. If you think you’re doing that by all this diatribe against anyone who raises the issues of Edge Hill and its students you are failing. Where is your reasonably balanced view of your ward and the problems it has, just as the residents and electorate of your ward have? Life long Labour supporter Janice Jowett wrote to the Champion and gave her views and not once did she complain against students. She challenges student landlords and wants them taxed. What’s wrong with her suggesting this council writes to the Chancellor of the Exchequer about it?

    • I drove past Edge Hill University last week and all I thought was “unsustainable”. Almost half a mile of cars parked on the pavement outside. I’ve driven past at 9am and marvelled at the 1 mile+ tailback, stationary cars trying to get into their car park. Edge Hill is great for Edge Hill.

      • That’s a very good point. Edge Hill is greater for Edge Hill than it is for we council tax payers.

  6. Quite frankly because students don’t work, they don’t earn money, they don’t get pensions, they don’t get benefit payments, so why should they pay taxes?

    • “Some” students do work, “some” students earn money, “some” students get benefits, “some” students pay car taxes. Why did Liverpool City Council pass a resolution Minute 102 at their meeting in September 2016 “Council resolves to ask the Mayor to write to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the Chair and Vice-Chairs of the Local Government Association and the Liverpool MPs to request that councils should be given powers to bring student landlords within the scope of business rates in the same way that hotels, self-catering and holiday lets are within the scope of business rates. Insert after final paragraph Council also resolves to establish a working group chaired by the Cabinet Member for Housing with representatives of the universities, landlords and student unions to consider the operation of such a scheme in Liverpool to ensure that it is designed in such a way so that it does not undermine the city’s wider housing strategy and that the costs of such a scheme are not passed on to students”.

  7. Oh dear, It does look like Cllr Wynn should speak to his colleagues in Liverpool. He also keeps mentioning council tax. Does, he not realise that the motion was about business rates?

    • He’s single-mindedly defending “poor” students. There are “some” poor students, but there are rich landlords, and Janice Jowett wrote about them and why she supports the OWL motion, as do many more following all the publicity.

  8. No doubt some landlords may take offence to that comment. The problem is this, if council tax was converted into business rates, the landlords would pass this on to the students. No matter how regulated. The students would end up paying one way or another. There is also the issue about small business rate relief. The government just raised the threshold so more small businesses do not pay business rates. So to compare a small business to that of a hotel, or holiday let’s is not comparing like for like.

    • I am not here to defend landlords who might take offence to comments. I am here to support a change in the extreme bias that of all three elements, council tax payers, students, and landlords, the people picking up the bill are council tax payers who in effect subsidise landlords. Liverpool City Council took up the issue, why didn’t WLBC?

  9. I’ve read the motion. It asked the Government to allow West Lancs council to levy business rates on student landlords so the rules would be locally determined. Therefore small business rate relief is a red herring.

    You still mention council tax which is irrelevant. Whether any of the business rates would be passed on would be down to market forces. With the number of empty student properties currently in Ormskirk I think they would struggle.

    Why do you not agree with your Labour colleagues in Liverpool? You just look stubborn.

  10. Red Herring? West Lancs cannot set business rates locally, Business rates in West Lancs are set by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) in Liverpool. So if business rates were to be applied, and the Landlords qualified for business rate relief, what would be the point?

    • Isn’t that more of a reason for the problem to be dealt with at central government level. We, council tax payers, will be losers because WLBC is going broke, why should that be?

  11. Losers? Blame conservatives for cutting back on all of our public services, and blame those who voted them in. As far as this motion goes, the government will never act on it as it has no legs, in an ideal world landlords would pay business rates, and absorb such costs, but in the real world landlords would pass on the burden. The whole motion though is based and aimed at students not paying council tax dressed up in grabbing headlines and filling leaflets in Westhead. To drag Liverpool’s motion into the argument a city with property magnates and compare Ormskirk as such is seriously out of touch.

    • How cynical is this? All students are not poor, and some, like other people in society, are worthy of help. And it isn’t Liverpool’s motion, it’s Liverpool Labour Party motion. Hasn’t Ormskirk, West Lancashire, got the odd property magnate?

  12. Once upon a time being a student meant you were part of society with an education out of reach of the common man. Let’s hope we never go back there.

  13. Whether then or now, being a student has always involved financial strain. Possibly the most important lesson to learn is that of responsibility. Society’s services must be paid for, in much the same way as a pizza, night out in Ormskirk or Liverpool, the taxi back at the end of the night, the alcohol consumed throughout. ALL Students presumable pay, in one way or another, for electricity, gas, cleaning services if applicable etc, because these services are consumed. Why is West Lancs Labour so out of touch and dictatorial?

    • I’ve read in the last few days that over 80% of students will never repay their loans, at a cost to tax payers of £2.9billion a year. If that’s true, we are a society with an education easily within the reach of every common man, aren’t we?

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