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,...
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 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
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....
Today we joined in with Labour's National Campaign Day, bringing hope to our country.
We campaigned in Dartford Town Centre in the morning, handing out hundreds of leaflets and talking to people about the issues that matter to them and how we're working for residents, all year round.
In the afternoon, we knocked on doors in Swanscombe - where Labour's vote increased in the recent Kent County Council elections.
Our stall in Dartford Town Centre this morning.
Our team for Swanscombe in the afternoon.
If you wish to join our campaigns, please sign up as a Volunteer by clicking on this link.
Today we joined in with Labour's National Campaign Day, bringing hope to our country. We campaigned in Dartford Town Centre in the morning, handing out hundreds of leaflets and talking...
Our Vice Chair (Membership) Mandy Garford wrote on inclusive education for the Fabian Society:
Education is the passport to opportunity. It is only right that all children are given equal opportunities to reach their full potential, educated in a world-class system to become the next leaders, entrepreneurs, teachers, strategists, economists, doctors, lawyers or scientists.
First, this means addressing the inequality that has a huge impact on life chances. A child hasn’t earned their wealth – or indeed their poverty. It is appalling that in the 21st century the UK has one of the highest income inequality gaps in the EU. The wealthiest 10 per cent take 28 per cent of all income, and half of that is taken by the top 1 per cent. We need to make sure that getting access to the best education does not depend on your family’s wealth. Labour led the way by introducing Sure Start Centres to ensure that very young children, whatever their background, had an equal start in life. When Labour is back in power, we will face the challenge of building on this achievement so that a good and sound education is something that can be within the reach of all children.
But equality of opportunity in education also means focusing on a group of children perhaps most at risk of losing out: those with special educational needs and disabilities. Special needs children often need more support than a typical child in the classroom, sometimes requiring extra time or adaptations to help them access what every other child can. In the current climate of funding cuts, they are losing out as teaching and support staff are cut. Pastoral and mental health support services are being scaled back or lost completely. And schools are struggling to cope: Across England, the number of permanent exclusions in state-funded primary, secondary and special schools increased from 5,795 in 2014/15 to 6,685 in 2015/2016.
Teaching staff should be praised for the tireless work they do with our children. As a former teacher myself, I know the hours that teachers work to best meet the needs of the children in their class or school. But we have a multifaceted problem here, and we have to do more to support them to provide the equal opportunities that every single child deserves. The lack of funding in schools has a direct impact on staffing and support, but we also need to offer better training to equip teaching staff to deal with potentially challenging situations. When I was a teacher in a mainstream school, I welcomed opportunities to learn more about the plethora of conditions that the classroom held: without that training we are not equipping teachers to be effective facilitators of learning and we are failing the children that come through the doors.
Labour is committed to creating a world-class education system and an inclusive environment for children in mainstream school settings. However, we must not forget that there is, and always will be, a smaller group of children who will thrive better in a more exclusive setting. It is vital that we do not get stuck in the thinking that having all children in mainstream education is inclusive. In my role as chair of my local branch of the National Autistic Society, I deal with children on the autistic spectrum, who can have a huge amount of anxiety in a whole class setting of 30 children. This anxiety can render them non-verbal or cause them to behave in a way that would be considered unacceptable. Some may well be able to work perfectly well with extra help and support, but for others, a mainstream classroom does not offer equal opportunity. In fact it makes education even harder to access. Parents cry as they watch their child deteriorating in an inappropriate school setting, helpless in a school system which leaves them without a voice or a choice. I have known parents having to resort to solicitors to get their child adequate help. In this way we may be keeping the more vulnerable silent and once again failing a proportion of society, some of whom are already disadvantaged by poverty.
Labour needs to make the argument that not only is funding vital for providing a world-class education but that to be a truly inclusive, we must consider different settings for different children while providing a fully comprehensive education for all. The Conservatives choose to select on academic grounds. Wouldn’t it be the right thing for Labour to allow the people – the teachers, the parents and the children – to select which schools are appropriate for their needs? If a group of people are not being heard, we speak out for them – that’s what Labour does. Let’s go one step further and let’s give people back their voice.
Our Vice Chair (Membership) Mandy Garford wrote on inclusive education for the Fabian Society: Education is the passport to opportunity. It is only right that all children are given equal...
Labour Councillors in Dartford have said it is unacceptable that the Dartford Crossing is still not being included in assessments of air pollution in Dartford, six months after the government promised to correct the oversight.
The news comes as a report before Dartford Councils Policy Overview Committee reveals that Dartford has the second highest rate of hospital admissions for asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
Labour’s Shadow Chair on the Committee Councillor Daisy Page (Centre) expressed her concerns
“The data in this report shows that air pollution levels in Dartford remain unacceptably high, The link between poor air quality and health issues is well established and data shows that there is a correlation between proximity to the Dartford Crossing and hospital admissions for asthma and chronic heart disease. We need to see urgent action to tackle the issue of air pollution in Dartford.
It is unacceptable that 6 months after it was first revealed that the Dartford Crossing was not included in assessments of air quality pollution because it classed it as a rural road, the government have still not corrected this error. Labour will be proposing that the Policy Overview Committee writes to Ministers as a matter of urgency to ensure that the Crossing is included in the Government's Air Quality Plan. This is especially important in light of the health risks that the data the Policy Overview Committee have been given show. The Government delayed naming the location of the Lower Thames Crossing – we now need to make sure they push forward with construction as quickly as we’ve heard nothing on progress since the announcement was made”
Labour’s Leader on Dartford Council Cllr Jonathon Hawkes said the response from the government and the Council wasn’t good enough
“Air pollution is one of the most important issues facing Dartford in the next decade. However, the response of bothConservative Council and the Government has beencomplacent and inadequate. The Government Air Quality Action Plan claims that air pollution in Dartford will fall to ‘acceptable’ levels by 2020 but offer no evidence to support how or why that will happen. I think the health of our residents is too important take that claim at face value, the council appears to be using this claim as a basis not take any real action to help reduce air pollution levels.
Dartford Conservatives have clearly failed to influence the Government in taking our air pollution crisis seriously. The government are still not including the Crossing in the model for the Air Quality Plan. If the Cabinet Member Cllr Keith Kelly cannot or will not raise with the government, Labour will.
Labour believes that local councils should be empowered and supported to bring forward their own initiatives to tackle air pollution in their local communities and a Labour Council in Dartford in 2019 will treat this a priority. Monitoring of air quality is important but we need to take much bolder steps. Sadly, the Conservative Council's responses to the UK Action Plan ducked the chance to present ideas to government that would enable this authority to constructively influence how air quality is improved in the Borough”
Labour Councillors in Dartford have said it is unacceptable that the Dartford Crossing is still not being included in assessments of air pollution in Dartford, six months after the government promised to correct the...