News

  • DARTFORD LABOUR WARN OF “TESCO Mark 2” ON LOWFIELD STREET
  • NO PROGRESS ON DEVELOPMENT DESPITE CONSERVATIVE ASSURANCES THAT WORK WOULD BEGIN MONTHS AGO
  • OVER A YEAR HAS PASSED SINCE TORIES STRUCK DEAL – LABOUR DEMAND COUNCIL HOLD DEVELOPERS TO ACCOUNT FOR DELAY AND INACTION

Labour Councillors in Dartford have warned that complacency and inaction from the Conservative Council is risking “Tesco mark 2” at Lowfield Street.

Despite planning permission being granted back in March 2017, progress has yet again stalled on the plans for housing and retail facilities on the Lowfield Street, which has been subject to unfulfilled promises of regeneration for over fifteen years.

The Conservative administration have serious questions to answer about the lack of progress. Residents were assured that construction would begin at the start of 2018, but all we have seen is delay, excuses and Lowfield Street continues to be an eyesore in the centre of our community

The delay will seem worryingly familiar to residents to how Dartford was treated by Tesco and the Conservative Council in 2015 regarding the same site, where the Conservatives allowed Tesco to delay, stall and finally break their promise to develop Lowfield Street.

Dartford Labour Deputy Leader Josh Jones, who represents Princes ward which includes Lowfield Street express concerned about the delays;

“When the Conservatives announced the new plans for Lowfield Street we were told it would be a fresh start – but instead we’ve seen the same delays, the same excuses and same lack of progress. It feels like Tesco all over again and Jeremy Kite has got questions to answer. Why has work been delayed again when he promised that construction would begin at the start of the year? Why is more pressure not being put on Meyer Homes to deliver when he promised that he would not developers off the hook again? Why can his council still not give a firm date when work will begin? This is not good enough for Dartford. The Tories have already allowed affordable housing completion at the site to be pushed back to 2020 – does this delay mean it’s pushed back even further? “

Dartford Labour Leader Jonathon Hawkes said;

Dartford desperately needs re-generation to get off the ground but once again Lowfield Street proves that we cannot trust the Conservatives to deliver.  It is worryingly similar to the Tesco debacle – a glossy PR launch, warm words from Jeremy Kite and then inaction from the developer and complacency from the Council. We need to see quick action if Dartford is to avoid ‘Tesco 2’ but there is no sign of it from the Conservatives. The Tories are yet again letting developers off the hook. A Labour Council would get tough with developers and we would not be afraid to hold them to account if they don’t deliver for Dartford.”

Lowfield Street Press Release 30th April

DARTFORD LABOUR WARN OF “TESCO Mark 2” ON LOWFIELD STREET NO PROGRESS ON DEVELOPMENT DESPITE CONSERVATIVE ASSURANCES THAT WORK WOULD BEGIN MONTHS AGO OVER A YEAR HAS PASSED SINCE TORIES...

PRESS RELEASE 16th April 2018

• LABOUR RAISE CONCERNS OVER PLANS TO CLOSE SIX GP SURGERIES IN DARTFORD

• PAITENTS WILL BE ASKED TO TRAVEL FURTHER TO SEE THEIR DOCTOR AT PROPOSED NEW ‘HEALTH HUB’

• DARTFORD LABOUR COUNCILLORS QUESTION ‘MISLEADING’ MESSAGES FROM CON-SERVATIVE RUN COUNCIL

Dartford Labour Councillors have raised concerns over plans to close six GP surgeries in Dartford and merge them into a proposed new town centre ‘Health Hub’. The new ‘Health Hub’ forms part of the Council’s plans to redevelop the old Co-op site and was promoted to Dartford residents as a “new health facility” (1). However, it was revealed this week that no new GP surgeries will form part of the plan – which will instead see six existing surgeries close and ‘relocate’ to a single location in the Town Centre.

A report to Dartford Borough Council Cabinet last week confirmed that six local GP Practices would relocate to the new facility, including those currently based at the Dartford West Health Centre and some town centre practices. The proposal would lead to some residents having to travel further to access primary care due to the closure of existing GP surgeries. (2)

Questions remain about costs of the new health hub and how it will be funded after an initial fund-ing bid was rejected by NHS England. Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley Clinical Commission Group (CCG) are currently in financial special measures with a £13million deficit.

Dartford Labour Leader Jonathon Hawkes said;

“With thousands of new homes being built in Dartford we desperately new additional GP surgeries to meet demand, so it’s disappointing to learn that this proposal – promoted by the Conservative Coun-cil – isn’t going to deliver that. The ‘Health Hub’ will simply relocate existing practices.

The Conservatives are supporting this plan, but there are questions that need answering. Why does the Council believe it’s right that patients – many of which will be elderly – should now have to travel further to see their GP? How will the new hub be funded? Our CCG has been underfunded by the Government and we’ve already seen one funding application turned down. It’s far from certain this proposal will go ahead if finances cannot be secured.

I believe the literature released by the Conservatives about this has been misleading. Telling residents they will be getting a new health facility while not mentioning it will be only relocate existing practic-es is not being straight with people. The Council should be focused on delivering the extra capacity we need, not trying to spin an announcement into something it’s not.

Dartford needs additional health facilities to meet the demands of our growing town. Instead we are seeing a Conservative government cutting funding to the NHS and a Conservative Council supporting a plan to close local GP practices. Jeremy Kite and the Conservatives need to stop the PR spin and start explaining when Dartford will get the new GP surgeries we desperately need.”

ENDS 

Notes 1. Page 16 of the Council’s “Discover Dartford” brochure http://www.discoverdartford.co.uk/brochure/#16/z

2. Dartford Borough Council Cabinet Report 12 April – Agenda Item 11, Section 3.5 http://committeedmz.dartford.gov.uk/documents/g2620/Public%20reports%20pack%20Thursday%2012-Apr-2018%2019.00%20Cabinet.pdf?T=10

Dartford Labour raise concerns over closure of GP surgeries

PRESS RELEASE 16th April 2018 • LABOUR RAISE CONCERNS OVER PLANS TO CLOSE SIX GP SURGERIES IN DARTFORD • PAITENTS WILL BE ASKED TO TRAVEL FURTHER TO SEE THEIR DOCTOR...

• DARTFORD LABOUR WELCOME PLEDGE FROM JEREMY CORBYN OF FREE BUS TRAVEL FOR UNDER 25’s
• LABOUR’S FREE TRAVEL PLEDGE COMES AS TORIES CUT BUS ROUTES AND HIKE COST OF FREEDOM PASS

Dartford Labour has welcomed Labour’s new policy to fund free bus travel for under 25-year olds across the country.

The move, which is being announced by Jeremy Corbyn today (12th April) could benefit up to 18,000 young people in Dartford and help them save up to £1,000 a year. The policy will be paid for using money ring-fenced from Vehicle Excise Duty.

The next Labour government will provide funds for free travel for under 25s to local authorities who introduce bus franchising or move to public ownership of their local bus services. This will support and incentivise local authorities to create municipally owned bus companies, run for passengers not profit, which research has found could achieve annual savings of £276 million per year.

Greater use of public transport reduces congestion, air pollution and carbon emissions. Free bus travel for under 25s will help generate lifelong increases in public transport use.

Leader of the Labour Group on Dartford Council Jonathon Hawkes said;

“This is a policy that gives help where it is needed most. Look at the rising costs of education, the near impossible job of getting on the housing ladder, stagnant wages and insecure employment – the last eight years of Conservative government have not been kind to young people in Dartford. That’s why Jeremy Corbyn’s announcement that the next Labour government will provide the funds to cover free bus travel for under 25s, to support them to travel to work, to study and to socialise, will be welcomed by young people across Dartford and their families.

Contrast Labour’s policy with the Tories who have cut bus routes on school runs and increased the cost of the Freedom Pass. Labour is committed to investing in young people, the Conservatives are making their lives more difficult and more expensive.”

Labour Group Deputy Leader Josh Jones said;

”Free bus travel will make a huge difference to their lives of young people in Dartford. Fares are too expensive and travel costs can be a huge proportion of the incomes of young people so it’s right that they are given a break. Labour will do that. We want to see local councils take back control of their buses, so they can provide a better service. Too often in Dartford we’ve seen the wrong priorities from private bus operators which has resulted in the cuts to route announced by Conservative run Kent County Council. Young people, like all of us, need a reliable, affordable bus service. Labour will deliver that.”

ENDS

Bus Press Release 12th April

• DARTFORD LABOUR WELCOME PLEDGE FROM JEREMY CORBYN OF FREE BUS TRAVEL FOR UNDER 25’s• LABOUR’S FREE TRAVEL PLEDGE COMES AS TORIES CUT BUS ROUTES AND HIKE COST OF FREEDOM...

  • 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.”

Notes

Budget can be viewed here -   http://committeedmz.dartford.gov.uk/documents/g2659/Public%20reports%20pack%20Monday%2026-Feb-2018%2019.00%20General%20Assembly%20of%20the%20Council%20Budget.pdf?T=10

 

  1. Page 11 of budget report – section 4.8
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. Page 51 of the budget report
  5. Page 258 of the budget report

 

 

Press Release On Dartford Borough Council's Budget 2018/19

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. 

Update on our work in 2018

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 Join Protests Againt Conservative Great Train Robbery

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,...

Kent Labour Groups Oppose Changes To Domestic Abuse Refuge Funding

Two years after the government made coercive or controlling behaviour a criminal offence, over 50 members of the Labour Party in Kent have signed an open letter calling on the government to reverse their planned housing benefit cap for domestic violence refuges.

Currently, Housing Benefit makes up around 50% of the revenue refuges rely on. The letter notes that “If Housing Benefit entitlement is removed for those in refuges, it will mean vulnerable women fleeing abusive partners will not be able to pay for their accommodation using housing benefit – the last guaranteed source of income available to refuges.”

In October 2017, a document was published by the Department of Work and Pensions and Department for Communities and Local Government, ‘Funding Supporting Housing’. Proposals contained in this document state that instead of being able to use housing benefit to fund refuges, a ‘ring-fenced’ grant to councils for short-term supported housing would be given. However, the majority of women (77.6% in 2015) in refuges come from outside the authority, having left their original home in order to escape the perpetrator.

If these reforms proceed, Labour is concerned that this will result in a postcode lottery of domestic abuse support services, with further refuge closures who provide such an invaluable service, and more women and children being turned away from the lifesaving support they offer when escaping domestic abuse and violence.

The letter was signed Councillor Jonathan Hawkes, Leader of the Labour Group in Dartford alongside Labour leaders in Canturbury, Thanet and Medway.  Elected Labour representatives from North Thanet, South Thanet, Maidstone & Weald, Faversham & Swale, Rochester & Strood, Gillingham & Rainham, Chatham & Aylesford, Dover & Deal have also made a stand.

Jonathan said: 'The proposal to remove Housing Benefit entitlement for those in domestic violence refuges is unacceptable and needs to be halted.  The Tory government are showing a lack of understanding of the importance of domestic violence services – these cuts will have a huge effect on the safety of women and children across Kent. Access to refuges has meant the difference between life and death for women escaping violence at home. That’s why Labour across Kent has united to sign this letter - it’s vital that the Tory government start listening and reverse these cuts.'

Councillor Daisy Page who also signed the letter said:

'As a Councillor, having worked with women and children escaping domestic violence and abuse, seeing how much refuges and our local refuge is relied upon I know the devastation this will cause. It’s time Government listened to the people on the ground and abandoned its plans to remove refuges from support term housing welfare. This Government should be working to find a long-term and sustainable funding solution for refuges across the country, an invaluable service for so many, instead of removing funding.'

The letter asks that the government “reconsiders and abandons its plans to remove refuges and other forms of short-term supported housing from the welfare system.”

You can sign the petition here: https://www.change.org/p/gov-don-t-remove-refuges-from-the-welfare-system


The full text of the letter is available below:

We, the Women’s officers and Cllrs of the Constituency Labour Parties of Kent, are writing to draw attention to our very significant concerns about the Government’s plans to remove refuges and other forms of short-term supported housing from the welfare system. We feel this proposal will further endanger the safety and lives of women and children seeking to escape domestic abuse. 

Currently, Housing Benefit makes up around 50% of the revenue refuges rely on. If Housing Benefit entitlement is removed for those in refuges, it will mean vulnerable women fleeing abusive partners will not be able to pay for their accommodation using housing benefit - the last guaranteed source of income available to refuges.

In October 2017, a document was published by the Department of Work and Pensions and Department for Communities and Local Government, ‘Funding Supporting Housing’. Proposals contained in this document state that instead of being able to use housing benefit to fund refuges, a ‘ring-fenced’ grant to councils for short-term supported housing would be given.

However, the majority of women (77.6% in 2015) in refuges come from outside the authority, having left their original home in order to escape the perpetrator. If these reforms proceed, we are concerned that this will result in a postcode lottery of domestic abuse support services, with further refuge closures who provide such an invaluable service, and more women and children being turned away from the lifesaving support they offer when escaping domestic abuse and violence.

It takes incredible courage for a person to leave an abusive relationship. Two women continue to be killed by a partner or ex-partner every week in the UK. Research by Women’s Aid found 94 women with 90 children were turned away from refuge services in just one day in 2016, meaning there is an absolute demand for this service.

We ask that the Government reconsiders and abandons its plans to remove refuges and other forms of short-term supported housing from the welfare system. This Government should be working to find a long-term and sustainable funding solution for refuges across the country, who provide an invaluable service for so many women and children in need.

Lily Madigan Women's Officer, Rochester and Strood CLP

Pauline Farrance Women's Officer, North Thanet CLP

Jennifer Hamilton Women's and Equalities Officer, Faversham and Swale CLP

Lia Mandaracas Women's Officer, Gillingham and Rainham CLP

Jennifer Hamilton Women and Equalities Officer, Faversham and Mid Kent CLP

Cllr Claire Pearce Stone Parish Council, Women’s Officer, Dartford CLP

Cllr Vince Maple, Leader of the Labour Group on Medway Council

Cllr Alan Baldock, Leader of the Labour Group on Canterbury City Council

Cllr Jonathan Hawkes, Leader of the Labour Group on Dartford Borough Council

Cllr Josh Jones, Dartford Borough Council

Cllr Daisy Page, Dartford Borough Council

Cllr Tom Maddison, Dartford Borough Council

Cllr Mark Maddison, Dartford Borough Council

Cllr Patrick Kelly, Dartford Borough Council

Cllr Mandy Garford, Stone Parish Council

Cllr Emma Morley, Stone Parish Council

Cllr Pam Brivio, Dover District Council

Cllr Lenny Rolles, Gravesham Borough Council

Cllr Shane Mochrie-Cox, Gravesham Borough Council

Cllr Karen Constantine, Thanet District Council, Kent County Council

Cllr Jenny Matterface, Thanet District Council

Cllr Iris Johnson, Thanet District Council

Cllr Michell Fenner, Thanet District Council

Cllr. Peter Campbell, Thanet District Council

Cllr Ian Venables, Thanet District Council

Cllr Derek Boyle, Paddock Wood Town Council

Cllr Naushabah Khan, Medway Council

Cllr Andy Stamp, Medway Council

Cllr Tristan Osborne, Medway Council

Kent Labour Unites Around Opposition to Domestic Abuse Refuge Funding

Kent Labour Groups Oppose Changes To Domestic Abuse Refuge Funding Two years after the government made coercive or controlling behaviour a criminal offence, over 50 members of the Labour Party...

This morning the Prime Minster promised to set her vision for the country. This afternoon, what we actually got were a series of inadequate and watered down proposals, lacking substance.

On our housing crisis, the announcement of a £2bn ‘pot’ of funding for new council homes actually amounts to only 5,000 new council homes a year. That’s about 15 per council. For Dartford, where there are 1,000 people on the waiting list and young spending record levels of their income on housing in private sector, these proposals fall woefully short. Labour will introduce controls on escalating rents, provide longer tenancies and build a million genuinely affordable homes
On the NHS we heard warm words but no action. Healthcare services in Dartford are facing a £16 million pound shortfall this year alone and this forecast to grow. Labour will ensure our services receive a fair funding settlement.

On the growing pressure on household budgets the Tories once again come up short. Labour will give the country a pay rise by raising the minimum wage to £10 and scrap the public sector pay cap. Theresa May right praised our public servants, but it is Labour that values them and it is Labour that will act to protect the services they provide.

On education, the Prime Minister says that she has listened and will freeze fees, but it was the Tories the trebled them to £9000, pricing out many young people from University. On Sure Start and the growing funding crisis in our schools we heard nothing. Labour will scrap tuition fees; reverse the damaging cuts to our schools and Sure Start (which have seen a third closed under the Tories).

The overwhelming view of Dartford residents will be that this disastrous speech was a metaphor for this government – tired, dysfunctional and broken. It’s time Theresa May and the Conservative government made way. Labour are ready and waiting to provide the leadership this country needs. It’s time for Theresa May to make way for a Government that will act in the interest of the many and not the few.

Cllr Jonathon Hawkes - Leader, Dartford Labour Group 
Cllr Josh Jones - Deputy Leader, Dartford Labour Group

Dartford Labour response to Theresa May's Conference Speech

This morning the Prime Minster promised to set her vision for the country. This afternoon, what we actually got were a series of inadequate and watered down proposals, lacking substance....

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