Nov 012017

Attempts led by Labour to close a loophole that allows offshore companies to avoid capital gains tax on UK properties were defeated on Tuesday with the help of St Albans MP Anne Main. Offshore companies are currently exempt from paying capital gains tax on the sale of UK commercial property. A new clause in the Finance Bill, tabled by Labour backbencher Stella Creasy and supported by the Labour front bench would have closed this loophole. This would have brought in six billions of pounds in tax revenue to help fund our struggling public services.

An investigation by Private Eye magazine revealed the huge amount of UK property held offshore. It shows St Albans is peppered with properties owned by companies registered in the Channel Islands, the British Virgin Islands and other tax havens. These include three commencial buildings with values in excess of ten million pounds each and large areas of rural land around the city.

When faced with the choice of voting with wealthy offshore businesses or with ordinary people in St Albans who depend on public services, Anne Main chose the few not the many. She has yet again shown that she will vote against the interests of her constituents and with her party at all costs.

St Albans Labour spokesperson Roma Mills said, “Surely it is time for the UK Government to close the loopholes in our system which allow tax avoidance on a grand scale. With the NHS cut to the bone and education and social care squeezed by budget cuts – this needs to be sorted out in the interests of our community.”

Oct 062017

In her disastrous Conservative Party Conference speech, Theresa May announced the government would fund an extra 5000 homes for social rent every year. This is a drop in the ocean compared to the dire need for more affordable homes across the country. In St Albans alone there are almost 800 families on the council housing waiting list and 128 families living in temporary accomodation. It would take almost a sixth of the Tories’ proposed national annual spending to build homes for these families. Across England there are over 1.2 million households on waiting lists for council houses. This means that it would take the Conservatives almost 250 years to provide enough homes for social rent. In our 2017 manifesto Labour promised to establish a new Department for Housing and to build 100,000 new council and housing association homes every year.

St Albans Labour spokesperson Roma Mills said, “St Albans Labour spokesperson Roma Mills said, “The Government and the Conservatives running the District Council are letting down 100s of local people who need a Council House. This latest announcement is unlikely to make any real difference here in St Albans.”

Oct 062017

New figures have revealed over ten thousand people in St Albans district are struggling with debt. The independent Money Advice Service estimates that one in nine St Albans adults find monthly bills a heavy burden or have missed three or more bill payments in 6 months. Seperately, figures released by the Guardian show that consumer debt (personal loans, credit card debt etc.) in the “AL” postcode are which includes St Albans has reached £654 per person, above the national average. Nationwide consumer debt is growing at 10% per year even though real wages are falling.

St Albans Labour spokesperson Roma Mills said, “The enormous cost of housing – whether rent or mortgage repayments – is putting huge pressure on local families. This is pushing many households into unmanageable debt – we urgently need real investment into affordable housing and sensible annual increases in wages which reflect the increasing cost of heating, transport and inflation.”

Sep 222017

Local residents have raised concerns about buses leaving their engines running at bus stops in central St Albans. Idling buses release both CO2 (a greenhouse gas) and Nitrogen Dioxide (which increases the risk of respiratory disease). St Albans District Council recently ran a campaign encouraging car drivers to avoid idling, noting the adverse effects of air pollution. Local resident Marjorie Byers said, “On some longer routes schedules are not so easy to keep so buses arrive in St Albans early and idle in St Peter Street for up to 5 minutes (or more).” St Albans Labour councillor Malachy Pakenham commented, “The Labour Group view has always been to support the Council’s efforts to reduce pollution by encouraging all vehicle users to switch off engines when the vehicle is not in motion. This is particularly important in the town centre which suffers from high pollution levels”


St Peter’s Street

Aug 312017

New figures have shown that 16333 workers in St Albans district would benefit from Labour’s plan to increase the minimum wage to £10 an hour. This comes as higher inflation begins to bite and after almost a decade with no real wage growth.

The minimum wage was introduced by the last Labour govenment to combat low pay and exploitation. Over the past seven years the least well-off working families have bourne the brunt of the tax and benefit changes caused by Tory and Lib Dem austerity. Labour’s minimum wage changes will give thousands of working families in St Albans the pay rise they deserve.

Labour party spokesperson and District Councillor Roma Mills said “St Albans is an affluent area but we know that many people in work are struggling to keep up with the cost of living and have to rely on benefits and food banks to get by.  The Labour Party is determined to make sure that the lower paid do not continue being left behind by the rising costs of rent, bills and essentials.”