St Albans Labour Councillors reject 5.8% Council Tax Hike
Labour leader Roma Mills has blasted the Tory and Lib Dem obsession with austerity that has cost St Albans millions of pounds.She says “Local residents, even in an affluent place like St Albans, can see the results of eight years of the Tory obsession with cutting public services under the guise of austerity. We see wholesale reductions in services across the public sector locally with the pulling of funding from Nascot Lawn, local libraries closing, social care in crisis, rising homelessness because of the council’s inability to house those in need and cuts to the NHS”. Next year’s cuts will mean less funding locally for important services like Home Start, Youth Talk and the Women’s Refuge. Services like grass cutting and road sweeping are at a minimal level already, and will continue to decline. The advice from the Tories is: “Do it yourself” – and if you want a new play area then crowd funding is the answer! The local Lib Dems also deplore the loss of services. However, their party put the Tories into power and supported the austerity agenda being used to destroy local government. Even Torycouncils are saying the cuts are unacceptable and that they fear going broke.
Labour believes in strong local government. Labour councillors voted against the increase in council tax in 2018/19 because residents will just be paying more for less.
St Albans Labour Councillors say,“ build Council Houses again”
St Albans Labour councillors won the support of all the other parties when they asked the council to lobby the government for permission to keep the money from sales and build houses again.The Labour councillors said, “We need to be able to build Council houses again if we are going to meet the needs of local people on low incomes.”Discounts of up to £78,600 are encouraging the ongoing sale of Council houses – and St Albans now has a stock of under 5,000 homes. St Albans has over 100 families in temporary accommodation. The “hidden homelessless”of people lodging with family and friends, is a reality for many local families. Soaring private rents are driving more and more people into these difficult situations.
The District Council cannot replace the homes that have been sold. They must hand the money from sales to the government and cannot borrow to invest in homes for the future. Trying to replace lost Council housing by negotiating for affordable housing in new private developments is not working-the Council has only managed to secure 6 units of social rented housing via this route since 2015.
Council officers will write to the two local MPs to ask them to put pressure on Government ministers