Election 2014: Wandsworth Council opposition leader Rex Osborn says Labour can keep council tax low and stop cuts

Read the story here:

http://www.wandsworthguardian.co.uk/news/11223050.display/?ref=twtrec

 

Promoted by D J Bellamy on behalf of Tooting Labour Party,
both at 273 Balham High Road, London, SW17 7BD
Published and promoted by Sean Lawless on behalf of 
Battersea Labour Party, 
both at 177 Lavender Hill, Battersea, London, SW11 5TE
Promoted by Fiona McLachlan on behalf of Putney Labour Party. 
Both at 35 Felsham Road London SW15 1AY

 

Labour’s Pledges for Wandsworth

1. Low council tax and value for money.
Both parties support low council tax. The difference is that the Tories waste £3 million of your money on bonuses for Town Hall bosses. Labour says that money should be used to ensure you get the high quality services you deserve. Lbour-rose
2. Keeping you safe
Labour is campaigning hard for all residential streets to have a 20mph limit.  We will also bring back lollipop wardens outside schools. Labour brought back local police teams, which the Tories have since slashed.
3. Supporting local shops, pubs and the community
Labour’s “save our high street” campaign has forced  the government to finally give council powers to tackle about betting chains taking over valued local shops. We’re fighting Wandsworth Tories’ foot-dragging over saving the Wheatsheaf pub at Tooting Bec. We will re-open the One o’clock Clubs closed by the Tories at Bolingbroke, Coronation Gardens, Windmill and Alton. And we’d recruit  new frontline enforcement staff to tackle fly tipping, littering and dog fouling.
4. Addressing London’s housing crisis
Nationally, Labour will introduce 3-year rental contracts to protect tenants from unaffordable rent rises, ban letting agent fees and get house building moving again. The Tories are standing by while rents go up 10% a year. Wandsworth Labour would create 1000 additional homes for social rent, freeze rent for council tenants until 2016 and bring it into line with the rest of London.
5. Tackling the cost of living crisis
For years now, prices have gone up faster than most people’s wages. A Labour government would freeze energy prices and provide more help with childcare. The out-of-touch Tories are denying that there’s a problem. Wandsworth Labour supports the London Living Wage.

 

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Promoted by D J Bellamy on behalf of Tooting Labour Party,
both at 273 Balham High Road, London, SW17 7BD
Published and promoted by Sean Lawless on behalf of 
Battersea Labour Party, 
both at 177 Lavender Hill, Battersea, London, SW11 5TE
Promoted by Fiona McLachlan on behalf of Putney Labour Party. 
Both at 35 Felsham Road London SW15 1AY


WANDSWORTH LABOUR LAUNCHES LOW COUNCIL TAX COMMISSION

Labour councillors in Wandsworth have launched an independent commission of local government finance and business experts from across London, to uncover fresh ways to keep council tax low in the Borough while maintaining crucial frontline services.
Wandsworth labour
The commission will be chaired by Michael Ward, former Chief Executive of the London Development Agency, who is a long-term Wandsworth resident with more than 30 years’ experience in local government, as an officer, an elected member, and a researcher.
The commission’s report will be independent of the Wandsworth Labour Group and the Wandsworth Labour Parties.

Michael will be joined on the commission by Martin Pilgrim, former Chief Executive of London Councils; Gareth Daniel, former Chief Executive of Brent Council; Stephanie Elsy, former Leader of Southwark Council; and George Kessler, Joint Managing Director of a London manufacturing business and a member of London First, the influential business organisation representing London’s leading employers.

Heavy cuts from the Tory-led Government have put local authority budgets under severe pressure since 2010. But Labour Councillors suspect that Wandsworth’s Tory Council no longer has a convincing long term strategic vision for the Borough, preferring to pursue damaging and penny-pinching savings.

The commission will produce its report in Spring 2014.

Councillor Rex Osborn, Leader of the Wandsworth Labour Group, said: “The Tory-led Government has imposed the biggest squeeze in history on local authority budgets, leaving local councillors with difficult choices to make. However, unlike Wandsworth Tories, who have demonstrated the wrong priorities – cutting back frontline services and toying with charging children to pay to use the Borough’s playgrounds – Labour believes there are better ways to balance the books and keep council tax low without penalising residents.

“That’s why I’ve asked an independent commission of local government and business experts to identify fairer ways to make the necessary savings. When voters go to the polls next May for the council elections, we will offer them a clear choice –more of the same from the Wandsworth Tories, or a fresh, fair approach from Labour, which will keep the council tax low.”

Michael Ward, chair of the commission, said: “I’ve lived in Wandsworth for a total of 28 years, and am excited to be embarking on a project that could have a real impact on the lives of Wandsworth residents. I’ve warned Rex Osborn and his Labour team that there are no easy answers, but I hope that our report will provide some new thinking and some genuine alternatives for local residents to consider.”

The Commission’s Terms of Reference are:

“To examine Wandsworth’s revenue and capital budget.

This should include:

  • forecasting trends in the balance sheet
  • examining the Council’s treatment by central government in the allocation of grant
  • reviewing the Council’s policy on, and use of, reserves
  • reviewing the policy on user charging
  • reviewing the relationship between the budget and the Housing Revenue Account
  • making recommendations for an alternative budget, structured according to clear principles and priorities making recommendations on improving the management of the budget.”

Michael Ward is a researcher and consultant on economic and social policy. From 2000 to 2004 he was Chief Executive of the London Development Agency, the London Mayor’s agency for business and jobs. In the 1970s he was a Wandsworth Councillor, and in the 1980s Deputy Leader of the GLC. He and his family live in Furzedown, Wandsworth.

Martin Pilgrim has spent most of his 39-year career working for bodies representing local government. His last job before retirement was Chief Executive of London Councils, the body which brings together London’s local authorities. Martin is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy and has a Master’s degree in management from the University of Kent.

Stephanie Elsy has 30 years’ experience working at a senior level across the public, private and charity sectors. She is a former Leader of Southwark Council, and spent nine years as director of external affairs at Serco, which holds a large number of contracts with local authorities across the country.

Gareth Daniel has worked in London local government for more than three decades and served as Brent Council’s longest-serving Chief Executive from 1998–2012. A resident of Ealing in West London, he is a qualified social worker by background. He has also served as a councillor on the GLC and was chair of Ealing Council’s Planning and Economic Development Committee for four years. He now runs his own management consultancy undertaking change management and partnership development projects across the country.

George Kessler is Joint Deputy Chairman of Kesslers International Limited, a London based manufacturing business employing an ethnically diverse multi-skilled workforce of 300. Kesslers are Europe’s leading designers and manufacturers of permanent Point of Purchase Display. George is also a member of London First, Made in London, London Economic Panel and EEF’s Economic Policy Committee as well as being Chair of EEF’s London region
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Labour Calls On Wandsworth Tories To Join Campaign to Save Lavender Hill Police Station

Labour Consolidates National Poll Lead Over Tories

From UK Polling Report

Yesterday’s YouGov poll for the Sunday Times has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 42%, LDEM 8%. The nine point Labour lead is very much in line with the ten point leads YouGov have been showing all this week. 

On the regular leadership trackers there is a sharp fall for David Cameron, down to minus 27 from minus 11 a week ago. This is his lowest approval rating as Prime Minister (and I think as during his time as leader of the opposition too, though I don’t have them all collated in one place. I think his lowest then was minus 26).

YouGov repeated the overall budget question from last week now there has been a further week for news of the budget to sink in (and for people to row over pasties… a move the poll found 69% in disagreement with). A week ago 24% thought the budget would be good for the economy, 34% bad. That’s now fallen to 13% good, 45% bad.

Turning to the fuel strike, 25% would support a strike by fuel tanker drivers, 52% would oppose it. If it did go ahead, two thirds of people (66%) would support using the army to deliver petrol supplies. On the government’s handling of the strike threat so far, an overwhelming 86% of people think they have handled it badly (59% think they have handled it “very badly”). This includes 78% of Tory voters who think they have handled the strike threat badly.

Full report here:

http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/5125