Statement from Cllr Malachy Pakenham, leader of Labour group on St Albans DC on 21st May 2020
Labour councillors voted last night to keep the present Council leader and administration in place, in return for a commitment to sustained work on our long-term social priorities once the immediate challenge from the coronavirus is overcome.
At this very challenging time, the last thing our District needed was political upheaval in its administration – something which the voting mathematics on Council could otherwise have delivered. We have stepped up and ensured that stability. Last night’s vote was in strategic support of the party’s commitment to social justice, improved provision of social housing and action on climate change in our District.
Over the past year, the Labour group have secured key wins in these areas, such as the commitment to 33 social homes in the proposed city centre south development and whole-Council backing for a St Albans “car-free day”. Although plans for that are on hold due to the coronavirus crisis, the improvement in air quality in St Albans due to reduced car use has been very clear.
Labour will always push for progressive action from our Council, because we see and know the pressures our residents face every day. At present, that is strongly focussed on issues arising from lock-down, furloughing and redundancies. Longer-term, we want effective action on problems such as homelessness, the economic recovery and the lack of affordable housing, also to make sure we have an environment – locally and world- wide – that is fit to hand on to the next generation.