A Fairer Borough

Ensuring the Council Gets Its Priorities Right – Labour Will Introduce a Fairness Test

There is little doubt that councils across the country will continue to face pressure on their finances after the election. A Labour Council in Dartford will be both fiscally and socially responsible when it comes to spending. That means eliminating waste and unnecessary spending. It also means ensuring funds go where they are needed most. 

In areas like housing, community grants or protecting residents who are bearing the brunt of government cuts - the Conservatives have simply not done enough to ensure that council spending benefits those who rely on it the most. When money is scarce, we’ll do all we can to ensure it’s spent where it’s needed. A Labour Council will get our priorities right on council spending.

A Labour Council Will…

Conduct a social audit of Council spending

in the first three months of our administration to ensure that we can direct resources to initiatives and services which do most to help families and individuals who are struggling economically, and the most vulnerable.

Promote greater fairness

by committing the council to review how policies and procedures can be improved to reduce financial and social inequalities. All council spending will need to meet a fairness test.

Making Dartford a Living Wage Borough

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We should not accept that some people remain on the margins of our community for no other reason than they are not paid a wage that enables them to do the things that most of us take for granted. That’s why paying people a living wage is a vital part of our vision for a more prosperous borough. It’s also an essential step toward a fairer society where those who are helping to grow our economy are also able to share fairly in the rewards. 

The living wage makes financial sense too. Employers who pay a living wage and offer good terms and conditions to their staff have been shown to reap the benefits. It’s good for employers, it’s good for employees – it’s good for all of us. That’s why a Labour Council in Dartford will act as an advocate for the living wage in our community and introduce plans to be a true living wage borough.

A Labour Council Will…

Lead by example

ensuring that all Council employees are paid at least the Living Wage. We’ll also work with our contractors and suppliers to encourage them to also become Living Wage employers if not already.

Be an advocate for the Living Wage in Dartford’s economy

by setting up a local ‘Living Wage Accreditation Scheme’ to promote local employers who pay the living wage. We’ll also work closely with London Paramount to ensure paying the living wage is part of their employment offer.

Ban the use of damaging zero hours contracts

at the Council and we’ll urge Parish Councils to follow suit.

Supporting Alternatives to High Cost Credit in Dartford

Increasing numbers of people in Dartford are struggling with debt and find it hard to meet their living costs. Those who are struggling financially often have to resort to pay day lenders and other forms of high cost credit just to make ends meet.  However, these lenders only offer more problems, the exorbitant rates of interest often trapping people in a cycle of debt that they find it difficult to escape from.

Labour believes that high cost credit has no place in our community.  Affordable, responsible credit - as provided by credit unions and other community groups has proved a viable and sustainable alternative to pay day lenders.  A Labour Council will take steps to support alternatives to high cost credit in Dartford and help promote the availability of affordable credit across the borough.

A Labour Council Will…

Help give all Dartford residents access to affordable credit

We’ll work with the Citizens Advice Bureau and local credit unions to ensure access to an alternative to high cost lending is available to all residents.

Take action against promotion of high cost credit in our community

by banning the advertising of payday lenders on council owned property and ensuring their websites can’t be accessed on council owned computers.

Protecting Access to the Support and Advice Residents Rely On

As the impact of the government’s austerity policies start to bite, there has been a big increase in the number of local residents seeking advice on issues like finance, employment, access to benefits and housing. Where councils used to operate benefits advisory services these have been largely dismantled as a result of government cuts.

In difficult times, organisations like the Citizens Advice Bureau play a hugely important role in our community and Labour believes that the Council should provide them with the support they need to help them deliver the service that many residents rely on.  That’s why a Labour Council in Dartford will increase funding to Dartford Citizens Advice Bureau.

A Labour Council Will…

Increase funding to our local Citizens Advice Bureau

to ensure that they can continue to provide the vital support and advice our residents rely on.

Taking Action on Child Poverty in Dartford

There are still far too many children in Dartford living in poverty. The figures tell a story of an economy that is failing ordinary families. In Littlebrook 36% of our children are living poverty after housing costs. In Joyce Green it’s 31%. 35% of children in Princes are in poverty and 29% in Swanscombe. 

Some may say that this isn’t a council issue and there’s nothing we can do about it. We don’t accept that. Under Labour, Dartford Borough Council will start taking child poverty seriously. We’ll start engaging with other agencies and develop a strategy to tackle child poverty in the borough .This goes right to the heart of our fairness test – the council needs to ensure its policies help alleviate poverty and inequality – not exacerbate it.

A Labour Council Will…

Introduce a strategy to tackle child poverty

working with relevant agencies and identifying interventions and initiatives that can be implemented to improve the life chances of children living in our borough.

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