Pages tagged "Council Services"


Westminster Labour commit to keeping Council Tax low

Council Tax is always an emotive issue in Westminster politics but residents can be confident that Labour will keep Council Tax low.

Westminster Council receives the highest levels of parking revenue (£73.2m) in the country as well as substantial commercial income from its large Central London property portfolio (£42.8m) that help prop up its finances far more than in other boroughs. Westminster’s current total council tax collection brings in around £52m per year- only around 6% of the Council's income. 

Despite this due to the impact of crippling Conservative Government cuts to local council funding Westminster Conservatives have raised the Council Tax (the general rate and the adult social care precept) every year since 2016. The Conservatives raised Council Tax by 4% in 2016/17, 4% in 2017/18 and now by 2% in 2018/19.

This is set against cuts forced by the Conservative Government of £38 million in 2018/19 that saw a further £3 million from services for children and young people and £2 million from rough sleeping and supported housing.

If elected in May Westminster Labour pledges to keep Council Tax low. Labour is making a clear commitment that if elected we will not raise the council tax and adult social care precept by any more than the Tories have over recent years. Not only is Council Tax not the main way the Council raises money, a 2% rise brings in less than £1m per year, it is an unfair tax that hits those on low incomes hardest. Councils are also prevented in law from raising the general Council Tax rate or the Adult Social Care precept by more than 3% each (6% total) without holding a referendum of residents- something that has never happened. 

Labour will continue to push the Government for fairer funding for local government but will also work to find new ways to support local services, including new ways to earn commercial income. A central part of Labour’s approach will be a ‘zero-based’ review of all existing council expenditure, assessing every pound the council spends to ensure the spend is justified and think how it might be reduced. The review will be backed up by an external ‘critical friends’ board in order to find further efficiencies, including big cuts to spending on temporary and agency worker costs, scrapping the Westminster Reporter, making savings in the Lord Mayor's Office and cutting payments to Deputy Cabinet Members. 

Labour's recent budget plans were fully costed and approved by Council Officers and would enable money to be invested to met our ambitious but deliverable manifesto commitments. We will also protect current services residents value such as twice weekly bin collections

Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Member for Finance David Boothroyd said “Westminster Conservatives keep claiming their council tax levels are because they’re efficient – but people who have actually seen inside the council know the truth. Under Conservative management the council has managed to suppress the full story coming about some of their capers, such as the Managed Services Programme contract, which have led to massive waste of taxpayer’s money. Labour will make sure the council spends efficiently and on the priorities of residents.”

Labour's promise to Westminster residents is that if we win the Council on May 3rd we will keep Council Tax low. We will not raise it by any more than the Conservatives have.


Westminster Council spends £180,000 on pre-election propaganda

Westminster Council rearranged the production of its usually quarterly local propaganda magazine ‘The Westminster Reporter’ so that three editions were delivered to local residents in the four months prior to ‘purdah’ ban on election advertising at the cost to the tax payer of £180,000.

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Westminster Labour calls for Council action to support the Windrush Generation

Westminster is proud to be home to some of London’s longest established British African-Caribbean communities. Given the deep concern felt by many older residents of the ‘Windrush Generation’ as a result of the policies of the current Government Labour believes it is vital that the Westminster Council does what it can to support our community.

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And another 25 more ‘Nightmare Stories from City West Homes’

 

Labour Councillors have issued a new dossier of another 25 more ‘Nightmare Stories from City West Homes’ this year, following their first report in January 2018, which included 20 Nightmare Stories, and their second report in March with details of 25 more Nightmare Stories.

Once again, we have had reports from tenants and leaseholders living right across Westminster – from Pimlico to Paddington, from the West End to Westbourne – all expressing anger at the incompetent and heartless way in which City West Homes treats its 22,000 tenants and leaseholders.

Service standards have deteriorated badly following Conservative council cuts to the housing management budget, the closure of local estate offices and the bungled introduction of a new call centre and repairs contract.

In 2018, it is hard to believe the almost Dickensian situation some people have to live in and which is summed up by this report about a 70 year old woman in Dowland Street, Queen’s Park who “has been without electricity for 6 weeks. Contractors turn up and never finish the job. She is now lighting her flat with candles.”

A Labour Council will immediately put CityWest on notice so that if its performance does not rapidly improve it will be stopped from managing the council’s properties.

We have set out our plans for change if we are elected to run the council on May 3rd.

Labour’s Five Point Plan for CityWest Homes

  • From day one, Labour will take action to end the repairs crisis and improve the way CityWest treats residents. If it doesn’t urgently improve Labour will scrap it.
  • We will re-establish local estate offices.
  • We will urgently look at further ways to improve the failing call centre system.
  • We will give residents a greater say over how their homes are managed.
  • We will introduce a new leaseholders’ charter to improve support to resident leaseholders and look to limit huge major works bills.

You can read the latest report here

And another 25 more Nightmare Stories from CWH


Westminster Labour will fight for the rights of private renters

Rent Sign

If elected to lead the council on May 3rd Labour will take a more proactive approach towards the private housing market in our city to find ways to support our renters.

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Labour will help those most in need by improving support services and stopping bailiffs

Westminster Labour know how difficult life has been for so many in our community over recent years due the impact of Conservative cuts to public services and social security against a backdrop of a decade of stagnant wage growth that has hit lower and middle income families hardest.

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Westminster Labour's 2018 Council Election Manifesto

Manifesto

After decades of the Conservatives taking Westminster for granted, residents have a real chance to change the future of this city. Years of Conservative cuts have taken their toll on local services, particularly for the most vulnerable. The Conservatives have put the needs of developers above the needs of the vast majority of local residents. For generations they have failed to build the Council (social rent) and lower (intermediate) rent homes that Westminster needs to give the City a viable future.

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KEY PLEDGE: Westminster Labour will fight for fairness in our communities by supporting the London Living Wage and defending the rights of our EU Citizens

If elected on May 3rd Labour will commit the council to paying the London Living Wage not only to its directly employed staff but also to any future contractors. Under Labour Westminster would seek accreditation with the Living Wage Foundation to provide reassurance that our pledges had been met. We would also sign-up to sector specific agreements, such as the Unison Ethical Care Charter, to help improve working practices across the council and further enshrine our commitment to fair pay. Labour is committed to fair pay not only because it the right thing to do for our workers but because it can help to improve the quality of our public services that our staff deliver.

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Westminster Labour call for further action on fire safety

Ahead of the council elections in May Westminster Labour are setting out their plans for further action on fire safety and calling for reassurance on fire doors.

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Westminster Labour’s plan to tackle rough sleeping

Rough Sleeper

Covering the centre of London Westminster is home to rough sleepers from all over the country, many of whom have found themselves on the street due to the impact of the Conservative Government’s harsh housing and welfare policies across the UK. It is a rough sleeping challenge tougher than any other local authority.

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