Last night the Borough Council met to set its budget. Labour has expressed regret that vital funds for new housing have been kicked into the long grass, after the Conservatives withdrew £2m previously allocated for new homes from this year’s budget. The budget headlines are:
Money set aside for new homes needed sooner Labour votes for freeze in Councillor Allowances, funding for new homes and greater transparency Labour attacks budget riddled with “stunts, gimmicks and hypocrisy”.
While supporting the 0% rise in the small Dartford Council element of council tax, Labour also condemned the Conservative cynicism of promoting a ‘council tax freeze’ after their leader recently voted to hit Dartford residents with a 2% increase to their bills.
….. Continue reading Labour tells Council: ‘Get your priorities right’
Continuing on from the Kent Freedom Pass, pupils aged 11-to-16 will now benefit from school-day bus travel from 6am to 7pm, for a fixed fee of £200, under a proposal developed by Kent County Council.
The new scheme – the Young Persons’ Travel Pass, which mirrors many of the benefits of the Kent Freedom Pass – would allow pass holders to travel by bus Monday to Friday, from 1 September to 31 July.
Labour members on Kent County Council welcome the Tory plans to U-turn on their unpopular proposals to make the Freedom Bus Pass less helpful to families and young people in Kent.
It is now intended that the pass will be open for use the whole year round,
….. Continue reading Freedom bus does U-turn
Residents and businesses in Swanscombe are taking their fight for better flood protection and improved drainage to County Hall with the support of their local Labour councillor
Peter and Donna Williams have lived in Milton Street for 23 years. And in that time they say they have been flooded most winters. Mr Williams says: “It’s cost us thousands over the years. The front wall’s going to go soon because that’s all cracked now. The front room and hall have been decorated twice. We’ve stopped claiming on the insurance because it costs us too much”
“Our neighbour has lost three cars,” Donna Williams said. “ One of them was literally floating up the road. It’s like a torrent when it rains
….. Continue reading Flooding in Swanscombe – Jan 5
Steve Doran writes:
I ran for councillor for Swanscombe because I wanted to help this community and the people here. Why then, people ask, did I run as a Labour Candidate? Why not run as an independent? What does national politics have to do with the local community?
The answer is, I joined Labour because I know that the national Coalition government are hurting local communities across the UK, including this one. People are rightly upset that the Oast House is closing. They’ve been contacting me every day, asking who is responsible, who they can complain to, what they can do.
I’d love to blame the Tory run local council, but it isn’t their fault. It wasn’t their service,
….. Continue reading Why politics matters.
Gordon Cowan with Tom Maddison and Geoff Prout
Concerted action from Labour councillors on Kent County Council, supporting local community actvists, has earned a reprieve for SureStart services in Dartford. The proposed hours cuts to Temple Hill, and the closure of Maypole Centre have been rethought.
On a visit to Dartford, Labour group leader Gordon Cowan said:
“This is a fantastic result for all of the community, and for the Labour Party in Dartford, to see such a great result in return for all the hard work.
“I was delighted to be able to help in a small way you achieve such a great result and been able to convince the cabinet member how important Temple Hill was to
….. Continue reading SureStart protected
On a low turnout, in appalling weather, Swanscombe today elected Steve Doran as their councillor by one vote. The result: Lab 274 Con 38 Independent 138 UKIP 200 S&GRA 273.
Steve tweeted “I am now the Labour Councillor for Swanscombe. I am so very happy and proud. I haven’t words enough to thank @Dartford_Labour for everything they’ve done on this campaign. Every step counted!”
County leader Paul Carter has stopped the publication and discussion of report that is critical of benefits changes as they are impacting on Kent residents. But thanks to Kent Online, the report is available to read online.
Although the report says they are tentative, it lists key findings:
Increasing debt and debt management is a concerning issue – more welfare claimants getting into debt Housing benefits cuts are leading to an increase in rent arrears, as a result of the Spare room tax/subsidy Increasing delays in processing appeals for incapacity benefit Changes mean claimants increasingly need more help with forms or online Homelessness in Kent up by 25% over last year Families in B&Bs up by 22% Use of Kent’s
….. Continue reading County Tories hide bad news
Steve with some of the Labour team in Milton St.
In a vigorous campaign, Steve Doran and the local Labour party have knocked on nearly every door in Swanscombe, underlining her commitment to being an active local councillor. Steve says:
“Over the last four weeks, I and the local Labour team have called on every house in Swanscombe.
“And this is clear. Swanscombe people have a great sense of solidarity.
“Yes, there are problems: antisocial behaviour and low-level crime; flooding around Milton Street; parking on grass verges; poor street lighting. But there’s a will to get things put right.
“Labour’s team is already working on these local issues, which the Residents Association, and the Tories on Dartford Council have
….. Continue reading Swanscombe decides
Earlier this week Barclays announced that it was closing its centre at Crossways Business Park with the loss of more than 300 jobs. The announcement comes just a month after Waitrose announced it was also leaving the town centre.
Simon Thomson said that the announcement was further evidence that the Conservatives had failed to protect jobs and investment in the town.
“This is the latest example of a major business closing their doors in Dartford, yet all the Tories can offer is complacency. Gareth Johnson reacted to this news by claiming there is “no problem” with unemployment in Dartford. His words will be cold comfort to the hundreds of people at Barclays and Waitrose who now face this Christmas with
….. Continue reading Barclays close Crossways centre
• Simon Thomson selected to fight Dartford at next General Election • Thomson: “I’m here to put Dartford first”
Dartford Labour Party has this weekend selected Simon Thomson, a former BBC news journalist, to be its candidate – and the next Labour MP – for Dartford.
Mr Thomson, born and bred in North Kent, was selected at an open meeting of local Labour Party members on Saturday (5th Oct).
Speaking immediately after the meeting, Mr Thomson said, “I’m incredibly proud to have been selected to fight and win Dartford for Labour at the next election.
“Over the coming days, weeks and months, I’ll be setting out my stall as to what I will do for the constituency if
….. Continue reading Dartford Chooses Simon