Tory-led Adur Council decided last night to increase your council tax and, if you are a council tenant, your rent. Labour councilors voted against these increases. Financial hardship and real poverty are growing. This is not the time to pile more pressure on local people.
The Tories also rejected Labour proposals to look at how bin collections from houses in multiple occupation can be improved and for the council to look at how food waste could be collected and recycled, rather than going into general waste bins causing problems in the summer with smells and maggots.
Labour voted against an increase in the council tax at a time when financial hardship and real poverty is growing. An increasing number of families are having to choose whether to heat their homes or put food on the table. Our households are facing council tax increases already decided by the Police and Crime Commissioner (7.5%) and by West Sussex County Council (4.99%). Enough is enough. This rise is wrong.
The government receives money raised in Adur through income tax, corporation tax and business rates but give little back to local councils.
Councils must provide services but the government does not provide the support needed. The government ‘pass the buck’ without passing the bucks;
As Lee Cowen, leader of the Labour group on the council said: “It falls to our residents to pay the difference. And this cost to residents is increasing year on year – despite this being one of the most difficult years in modern history, with poverty rising and people choosing whether to heat their homes or put food on the table.”
Labour voted against a 1.5% rent increase for council tenants.
Tenants receive a poor service. Lee Cowen said: “Any progress that has been made has not been visible to our tenants, many of whom continue to live in poor conditions. And service remains poor – such as advising residents that mould is growing up their walls because they don’t open the windows often enough. No, mould is growing up the walls because the walls are cold and the air is damp. That’s the responsibility of Adur Homes not the tenants.”
Lee Cowen said “We oppose the 1.5% increase whilst the tenants receive such a poor service, and – this year of all years – when our council tenants are amongst the hardest hit by the pandemic and financial pressures”.
He said: “Adur Homes do not have a planned maintenance schedule, neither the officers nor the tenants have any idea when their kitchens, bathrooms and windows will be replaced. Woefully, there is no document setting out repair timescales either – tenants have no idea what to expect when they contact in, or how long it will take to respond to a faulty boiler for example. Well, that’s not good enough.”