More contempt for council housing in Barnet

April 30, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Posted in London | Comments Off on More contempt for council housing in Barnet
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David Cameron said in the third Leaders Debate that he wanted to;

 “Reward councils that go ahead and build homes for families.”

But his councils tell another story entirely.

The Tory Cabinet Member for Housing at ‘no frills’ Barnet Council has said that he was “proud” of Barnet’s housing waiting list and that some people on the list were there as a “lifestyle choice”.  These comments were made at a Full Council meeting on 20 April 2010.  

This is in a borough where figures released by homeless charity Shelter, show that residents waiting for social housing in Barnet have the longest wait in the country.  It has also agreed 2,209 fewer homes than it was asked to deliver and missed its Local Area Agreement targets to deliver affordable homes for rent.

Residents living in Barnet would need to earn around £66,000 per annum to be able to afford to buy an average-priced house in the borough.

The Tory Councils in London are showing their true contempt for social housing.  Hammersmith & Fulham Tories call council housing “barracks for the poor” and “warehousing poverty”.  Tories in neighbouring Kensington & Chelsea call council housing “ghettos”.  The Council is looking at ending secure council tenancies and raising rents to private sector levels four times what they are now. 

Cameron’s Tories are a serious threat to social housing as we know it.

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Contempt for council tenants in Hammersmith and Fulham

April 27, 2010 at 8:05 am | Posted in London | Comments Off on Contempt for council tenants in Hammersmith and Fulham
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Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s Decent Homes Regeneration Policy is reported to envisage large scale reduction of council homes.

But the Tories complain it is “hard to get rid of people” from their homes.

Their contempt for tenants is clear. A council memo describes council housing as “barracks for the poor” and “warehousing poverty”.

The Tory Leader, Stephen Greenhalgh, Conservative Home’s Local Hero of 2008, has told his Tory colleagues that public housing is an “asset” but which “delivers a risible return”. His solution is the end of social housing:

“To continue building and publicly investing in the “social rent” template which provides tenancies for life with no incentive or requirement to work or to move on which locks investment and people into properties makes no sense.”

The Tory goal is to gain profit from peoples’ homes and drive forward the Conservative philosophy of market rents and scrapping security of tenure, while encouraging expensive, upmarket flats.

Like David Cameron, Stephen Greenhalgh says one thing to the public and another to his Tory colleagues. He told Hammersmith & Fulham tenants in the council newspaper:

“We are giving a cast-iron guarantee that where renewal opportunities arise all council tenants will be offered a permanent home in the area.”

But he told fellow Tories:

“The problems inherent in trying to move households from one property to another when they cease to fulfill a ‘need’ condition would be solved by having just one form of tenancy, modelled on Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST)….In almost all cases we would expect the initial term of the AST to be 6 months as is standard in the private rental market.”

Stephen Greenhalgh heads up the Tory Councils Innovation Unit and advises the Cameron team on their future plans.  Putting these plans in across the country would mean that the eight million people in council or housing association homes would see their rents double or triple, be forced to move onto six month tenancies and have their security of tenure cut to a two-month notice to quit.

Watch a video from The Guardian on Hammersmith & Fulham

Information from Stephen Cowan, Leader of the Labour Group, Hammersmith and Fulham.

 

Cuts in Oxfordshire

April 26, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Posted in South East | Comments Off on Cuts in Oxfordshire
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Tory-run Oxfordshire Council has announced cuts of £106million over the next 5 years, affecting youth projects and young people.

The cuts include:

  • Four Fire Service Cadet Schemes to be axed
  • Start up funds for youth group projects axed
  • Home to School transport scheme to be cut, increasing fares for pupils
  • Four outdoor education centres which provide lessons for over 40 schools must become self-financing or will be axed
  • Wardens in sheltered accommodation axed
  • 15,000 street lights to be switched off overnight
  • Residents parking permits to rise by 25% and more streets included in the scheme

Councillor Liz Brighouse, Leader of the Labour Group, Oxfordshire County Council

Tory-run Brighton slashes investment in young people

April 26, 2010 at 1:10 pm | Posted in South East | Comments Off on Tory-run Brighton slashes investment in young people
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David Cameron says,

“Before people break the law, we need strong families, we need youth clubs, we need things to divert people away from crime, strong schools.”

Yet Tory-run Brighton and Hove Council has slashed investment in young people in its budget for 2010-11.

The Government is giving Brighton £1.1 million funding to fund its Sure Start programme.  But Brighton Council is taking £600,000 of that money to plug the holes in its budget instead of spending it on giving local children the best possible start in life.

Brighton Connexions provides a one-stop-shop of information and advice on careers, training, health and housing for 13-19 year olds.  This will face a cut of £200,000 in the Tory budget for 2010/11.

Brighton Council are also cutting £126,000 from youth offending services.

Information from Councillor Gill Mitchell, Labour Leader, Brighton and Hove Council

Swindon Tories slash budgets and raise charges

April 25, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Posted in South East | Comments Off on Swindon Tories slash budgets and raise charges
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Philip Hammond, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, says the Tories will,

“Deliver the intelligent cuts that are needed to protect and secure our frontline public services for our children.”

But the Tories running Swindon council have axed:

  • 77,000 from Shopmobility
  • £56,000 from Community Meals
  • £45,000 from Enterprise Works, a local business that employs mentally and physically disabled people and is subsidised by the council
  • £25,000 from teenage pregnancy support
  • 10% of the youth services budget
  • Bus services to outlying villages
  • Street lights at night to save money

They have increased charges by:

  • Up to 68% on the weekly rental charge for residential homes for the elderly
  • 23% for Meals on Wheels

They also proposed cutting £50,000 from the local Dial-A-Ride service.

This is an example of the Tories saying one thing locally and another nationally.

Tories slash spending on Citizens Advice in Sevenoaks

April 25, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Posted in South East | Comments Off on Tories slash spending on Citizens Advice in Sevenoaks
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David Cameron says he wants to,

“Create a supportive funding environment for volunteer-based charities and community groups.”

But Tory-run Sevenoaks has cut £10,000 from budgets for the local Citizens Advice Bureau and other voluntary groups whilst spending nearly £100,000 a year on civic dignitaries.  They spent £12,000 alone on a Civic Dinner.

True blue not green Tories in Calderdale

April 24, 2010 at 10:31 pm | Posted in Yorkshire and the Humber | Comments Off on True blue not green Tories in Calderdale

The Tories say that they will,

“We will introduce a new approach to waste management, one which minimises waste and promotes recycling.”

But Tories in Calderdale decided to remove the council’s  recycling contract from a local social enterprise who gave jobs to disadvantaged young people in favour of a multi-national company.  The social enterprise used the money earned from the recycling to help disadvantaged people into employment.

Although the multi-national originally agreed to work with the local social enterprise, according to its chief executive, “things started to change”, shortly after the multi-national took over the contract.

This is an example of how the Tories are still true blue rather than green.

Carlisle slashes nearly 20% from community centres

April 24, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Posted in North West | Comments Off on Carlisle slashes nearly 20% from community centres
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David Cameron says he wants to,

“Create a supportive funding environment for volunteer-based charities and community groups.”

Tory-run Carlisle City Council has slashed nearly 20% from Carlisle’s community centres over the next three years.   The decision by the Tory ruling executive overturns a decision to block these cuts at an earlier Council meeting.

This is another example of Tories saying one thing and doing another.

Tory Dartford to charge for recycling

April 24, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Posted in South East | Comments Off on Tory Dartford to charge for recycling
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David Cameron says that we should encourage a “Green Consumer Revolution” by rewarding recycling.

His Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Nick Herbert, says a scheme where the public are paid to recycle is “impressive” and that,

“We need to think far more creatively about how to reward consumers for doing the right thing.”

But Tory-run Dartford is introducing an annual £30 charge for anyone who wants to recycle their garden waste.

This is an example of how the Tories are still true blue rather than green.

Charges for the disabled in Cheshire West

April 24, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Posted in North West | Comments Off on Charges for the disabled in Cheshire West
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Tory Cheshire West and Chester Council  is introducing a charge for processing applications for the Disabled Facilities Grant, a local council grant to help towards adapting the homes of disabled people to allow continued independent living.

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