LABOUR OPPOSE CONSERVATIVE BUDGET THAT ”MAKES THE WRONG CHOICES AND HAS THE WRONG PRIORITIES”
AVERAGE DARTFORD RESIDENT £80 WORSE OFF FOLLOWING TORY TAX INCREASES
NO ADDITIONAL MONEY FOR THE FAILING WASTE COLLECTION SERVICE
CCTV BUDGET CUT WHILE POLICE NUMBERS FALL AND ANTI SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR RISING.
LABOUR FORCE TORY U-TURN ON BROKEN PROMISE TO PAY STAFF A LIVING WAGE
Labour Councillors in Dartford have this evening opposed the budget presented by Conservative controlled Dartford Borough Council. The Conservatives proposed the maximum possible increase to Council Tax of £4.95 or 2.9%. while also delivering £250,000 worth of budget cuts. 1 The tax hike follows increases by Tory run Kent County Council (also voted for by Jeremy Kite and Dartford Conservative County Councillors), Police and Fire authorities and some Conservative run Parish Councils. On average, Dartford residents will be £80 worse off a year as a result of the Tory tax increases 2
The budget offers no new money for the Conservatives failing waste collection service 3 even though residents suffered huge delays and missed collections over the Christmas period, leading the rubbish piling up in the streets. The Conservatives also proposed to cut the budget for CCTV 4 at a time when police numbers have been cut and instances of anti-social behaviour and street violence are rising.
Dartford Labour Group Leader Councillor Jonathon Hawkes said:
“This is a Conservative budget that is making the wrong choices and has the wrong priorities. It is a budget that has literally nothing to say about the big issues facing Dartford – how we provide more affordable homes, how we tackle air pollution and congestion, how we deliver the infrastructure to support our growing population. It’s status quo budget when Dartford needs ideas and innovation.”
“Massive cuts to local government funding have resulted in a Council Tax hike for local people – but its unacceptable that Dartford residents are paying more, but getting less. Services are deteriorating – with no better example that the Tories calamitous bin collection service reached new levels of incompetence over Christmas with thousands of homes suffering missed and late collections and rubbish piling up in the streets. People are being asked to pay more, but the Tories have chosen not to allocate money to improve this service which is clearly failing residents. That’s the wrong choice.”
“It’s ludicrous and reckless for the Conservative Council to be cutting the budget for important crime prevention measures like CCTV at a time when police numbers are being cut and instances of anti-social behaviour and street violence are on the rise. The first duty of a council is to protect its residents. This Conservative Council is not getting the basics right.”
Labour also forced the Conservative Council into U-turn after the budget proposed to break a commitment made in 2012 to pay its staff a Living Wage. Instead of the recognised real Living Wage rate as set by the Living Wage Foundation (£8.45ph), the Council’s pay policy is for its lowest paid employees was inked to governments so called ‘national living wage’ 5 which according the Living Wage Foundation is “not calculated according to what employees and their families need to live”. Labour raised concerns with officers and forced the Tories into a climbdown on the night of the budget.
Councillor Hawkes said “Labour has forced a U-turn from the Tories on their broken promise to pay staff a real living wage and shows you just cannot trust the Conservatives to tackle low pay. A Labour Council in 2019 will take immediate steps to pay all our hard-working staff a real living wage, ensure all the minimum rate for all council paybands are at or above the real living wage and will become an accredited living wage employer.”
Deputy Leader of the Labour Group, Councillor Josh Jones voiced concerns that the Conservative budget did not contain measures to tackle Dartford’s affordable homes crisis.
“Dartford is experiencing one of the fastest rates of population growth in the South East, but this Conservative Budget has no plan to build the homes that ordinary Dartford people need. This administration has failed year after year to deliver against a target of providing 30% affordable homes. It’s just not good enough when homelessness levels are rising and not good enough when the amount we’re spending on temporary accommodation is spiralling. This Conservative Council is not serious about providing the homes Dartford people need.”
Councillor Jonathon Hawkes said that a Labour Council in Dartford would take a different approach to the budget.
“A Labour Council would deliver a completely different budget – a budget that listens, not disregards the views of Dartfordians. A budget that focuses on the priorities for growing our town, spreading prosperity and tacking the big issues we face together as a community.”
- Page 11 of budget report – section 4.8
- Individual council tax bills differ because of different Parish and Town Council precepts. £80 represents the average annual increase to bills in Dartford after increase at Kent Council, Dartford Council, the Police and Fire precept and Parish Precepts
- Page 31 of the budget report makes clear the additional £83,000 allocated to the waste collection service is in respect of the additional homes in the Borough – not investment to improve the service.
- Page 51 of the budget report
- Page 258 of the budget report
LABOUR OPPOSE CONSERVATIVE BUDGET THAT ”MAKES THE WRONG CHOICES AND HAS THE WRONG PRIORITIES” AVERAGE DARTFORD RESIDENT £80 WORSE OFF FOLLOWING TORY TAX INCREASES NO ADDITIONAL MONEY FOR THE FAILING...
Dartford Labour have been working for Dartford in many ways already in 2018.
From talking to residents across Dartford on the doorstep to delivering Labour's message of hope in our literature we are out and about every week. If you'd like to get involved in any way, please use the Volunteer page (under Get Involved) and someone will get in touch. Below are some of our favourite pictures so far this year!
Talking to residents in Q Park, Stone.
Some of our members at our Councillor Training Session on 10th February.
Talking to residents in Darenth about local issues.
Dartford Labour Party members attending the #FixTheNHS march in London on 3rd February.
Talking to residents on the doorstep in Stone.
Delivering our leaflets about the Tories' Rubbish Record in Newtown.
Campaigning against the Great Tory Train Robbery at Dartford Station.
Dartford Labour have been working for Dartford in many ways already in 2018. From talking to residents across Dartford on the doorstep to delivering Labour's message of hope in our...
Dartford Labour Party recognises the prevalence of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) in betting shops, often referred to in the media as “the crack cocaine of gambling”. We believe that these machines are highly addictive, and that people's lives have been devastated as a result of their use - specifically, the ability of users to stake a maximum of £100 a spin, every 20 seconds.
Research and testimony, together with the experience of Labour Councillors and community activists in Dartford, has highlighted the damaging impacts that FOBTs have had on individuals. This has included building up ruinous levels of personal debt to fund addiction to FOBTs, depression and the breakdown of family relationships.
We strongly believe that the government should bring forward several changes to the law to significantly reduce the harm FOBTs can do to our community. Specifically;
The maximum stake on FOBTs (B2 gaming machines) should be reduced from the current £100 to a stake of £2 to bring it in line with other gaming machines. Evidence from the Campaign for Fairer Gambling and other organisations involved in the prevention of problem gambling indicates that a reduction to £2 is the change that would have the most impact in the prevention of harmful use of these machines. As such, we believe any smaller reduction should be discounted and there is no evidence to support that potential maximum stake of £50 would be safe.
We support a reduction of the maximum stake for B2 machines of £2 and therefore do not support an increase in any other machines (primarily B3) stake going beyond £2.
We are concerned that the use of debit cards as a form of payment on FOBTs has led to an increase to the amount of money staked and consequently completely reject any proposal for contactless payments to be available as part of any gambling product.
We believe that additional powers should be granted to local authorities to protect the wellbeing of their communities by stopping the proliferation and impact of betting shops in District, Boroughs and Unitary Authority areas.
This would include changes to planning legislation to provide planning authorities ability to reject all applications to open betting shops (including change of use applications) if authorities feel that additional betting shops would make the prevalence too high.
Planning authorities should also have the ability to reject an application if they can evidence that proposed location of the new betting shop may encourage problematic gambling or mis-use.
Local authorities should be granted increased funding for public health in recognition that there is a complete lack of support for the issue of problem gambling compared to drugs or problem drinking.
We also have serious concerns about the staff who work in the shops with FOBT’s in them. One third of the machines are smashed every year, meaning the call outs to betting shops by Police are far above the average to other high street shops and far more than those to other gambling premises such as bingo halls or casinos. Most have only one member of staff in the store at any one time, in fact the numbers of all employees by betting shops has fallen significantly. We believe that the government should work in partnership the trade unions and the industry do ensure that employers adequately exercise a duty of care to betting shop staff to protect them from harassment and resources are redirected from the gambling to support staff who have suffered, or are at risk of suffering, increased levels of stress in the workplace,
We would welcome additional restrictions placed on the advertising of gambling, particularly online. The relationship between the gambling industry and professional sports is in need of review. We would welcome the government considering similar restrictions on the advertising of gambling at sports events and during sports coverage on television and online that are currently in place in respect of tobacco products.
Councillor Jonathon Hawkes, Leader of the Labour Group of Councillors on Dartford Borough Council. Submission made on behalf of Dartford Labour Party
Consultation on proposals for changes to Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures – Submission from Dartford Labour Party
Dartford Labour Party recognises the prevalence of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) in betting shops, often referred to in the media as “the crack cocaine of gambling”. We believe that...
(Jeremy Corbyn standing up for renters at PMQs)
Renters in Dartford are currently powerless to ensure landlords fix problems like mould, damp and vermin. It means they’re living in accommodation that bad landlords aren’t keeping up to standard, with no laws to protect them.
That’s why on 19 January, Dartford Labour will be supporting Labour MPs in parliament who will vote for a new law to give power to renters, so they can take action if their homes aren’t up to scratch. Data from the English Housing Survey 2017 found that almost a third (29 per cent) of homes rented from private landlords fail to meet the national Decent Homes Standard; meaning they either contain safety hazards or do not have acceptable kitchen and bathroom facilities or adequate heating. Labour’s new law would place a legal requirement on landlords to ensure properties they let are fit for human habitation.
Labour previously sought to introduce this change in 2015. On that occasion, the Conservatives, including Dartford MP Gareth Johnson, talked the bill out – showing the Tories are more interested in protecting bad landlords than supporting renters.
Leader of the Labour Group of Councillor on Dartford Council, Jonathon Hawkes said;
As a Councillor, I’ve spoken to too many people who live in substandard rented accommodation. I’ve seen people live in properties that suffer from cold or damp or have mould on the walls. It’s unacceptable in 2018 and currently, renters are powerless to ensure their landlords fix the problems. That needs to change. Renters need protection and that’s why Labour is proposing a change in the law to ensure everyone has a legal right to live a safe and decent home.
I’m calling on Dartford MP Gareth Johnson to do the right thing and back our bill on 19 January to give renters in Dartford the protections they need and deserve.
Dartford Labour Support Campaign To Change The Law To Ensure All Homes in Dartford Are Fit For Human Habitation
(Jeremy Corbyn standing up for renters at PMQs) Renters in Dartford are currently powerless to ensure landlords fix problems like mould, damp and vermin. It means they’re living in accommodation...
Dartford Labour Party this morning joined protests up and down the country against the Tories Great Train Robbery, as commuters went back to work facing an 3.6% hike in fares, the highest rise in five years.
Speaking to commuters outside Dartford station this morning, the message was clear – passengers are fed up with paying outrageous increases in fares, while services continue to be unreliable and promised investment has been cancelled. People in Dartford want to see a railway run for the many, not the few.
The price of a annual season ticket from Dartford to London including travel on the London Underground now costs over £3000.
Leader of the Labour Group on Dartford Council, Councillor Jonathon Hawkes said;
“The great Tory train robbery is making it more and more expensive for people in Dartford to get to work. Under the Tories, we have the most expensive fares in Europe –since the Tories came to power, fares have gone up 32% - twice as fast as wages. The government is failing to stand up for ordinary passengers in Dartford.
People want a railway that operates in the interests of the many, not the few. That’s why Labour will bring our railways back into public ownership which will lead to more reliable services, capped fares and more investment.”
The photo at the top of this page shows Councillors Jonathon Hawkes and Mark Maddison, together with Labour activists Claire Pearce and Joshua Grills outside Dartford station this morning.
Dartford Labour Party this morning joined protests up and down the country against the Tories Great Train Robbery, as commuters went back to work facing an 3.6% hike in fares,...