Labour have set out an ambitious but deliverable manifesto that can help positively transform Westminster for the future to make it a city for the many not the few.
So, if elected on May 3rd we will take urgent action to deliver on our manifesto objectives upon taking office on May 16th. In our first 100 days in office a Labour Westminster Council will:
Urgently reform the planning system
- We will implement our proposed ban on councillors taking hospitality from individual developers and require any meetings about proposed schemes to be held with planning officers present.
- We will allow residents to speak at Westminster planning committee meetings for the first time.
Ahead of the full revision of the City Plan, we will urgently implement several key measures to deliver our planning reform agenda. These will include:
- Ensuring that our new targets for affordable homes will be urgently incorporated into planning policy so that at least 40% of new homes in private developments and 50% on public land are social rent or affordable.
- Scrapping the current Council strategy for more tall buildings and encourage more well-designed lower-rise developments.
- Ending the requirements for all new developments to have on-site car parking and promote car-free developments.
- Labour will ensure proposals for the review of the City Plan include Special Policy Areas to help protect Soho and China Town.
Deliver housing for local people
- Labour will immediately convene its new Westminster Housing Commission that will bring housing experts and residents together to urgently reform how housing operates in Westminster.
- One of the Housing Commission’s first steps will be to undertake a root and branch review of the future of CityWest Homes - which Labour has promised to urgently reform or scrap.
- Labour will instruct CityWestand the Council to prepare plans for new or restored local estate offices, sometimes as part of Council ‘service hubs’
- We will ensure that no future Westminster Council housing proposals contain less than 50% new social or Westminster Key Worker homes (for longstanding residents and key workers available for those on average incomes or less).
- We will implement our commitment to ensure that demolition for estate regeneration requires a ballot of local residents and ensure any schemes have an effective local lettings strategy so that local people are the ones to benefit from them.
- We will instigate a review of the Housing Allocations Policy so that it increases points for longstanding residents and restores a ‘family quota’.
- We will scrap the Council’s Homelessness Strategy and create a new partnership with businesses and the voluntary sector to tackle rough sleeping.
- We will change the mission of CityWest Residential from a profit-making lettings agency into an ethical property company that supports private renters and set up our private renters charter.
Make a start reforming the finances
- Labour will urgently begin a ‘zero based’ budget review of the Council’s finances. We will introduce rigorous checks on temporary and agency working hiring, scrap payments to Deputy Cabinet Members, get rid of the Westminster Reporter and streamline the Lord Mayor’s office to cut out unnecessary ‘frills’.
- We will do this so that despite Conservative Government austerity we can redirect funding to our identified key priorities while meeting our commitment to keep Council Tax low, not raising it any more than the Tories have.
Investing in Young People and the vulnerable
- Given the huge scale of Conservative Government cuts Labour can’t pledge do undo all of their damage. However, in our first 100 days a Labour Council would restore funding to the City’s youth clubs, make arrangements for the expansion of children’s centre services across Westminster and increase investment in home adaptations to help improve the quality of life and independence for the elderly and vulnerable.
London Living Wage
- Westminster Council will sign up with the London Living Wage Foundation and commit to paying all its staff and contractors the London Living Wage.
More support for our EU national residents
- We will urgently build on existing support by expanding advice and support services, meeting the 3 Million Pledge, to including passport return and nationality checking services, as well as support around settled status issues. We will ensure the Council campaigns for the full retention of EU citizens’ current rights and we will appoint an EU citizens champion.
Protecting small business
- We will urgently instruct the council to look at improving business rate relief for local small businesses and we will put pressure on major landowners over unfair rent hikes.