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The Hillingdon Labour Group is completely and utterly dismayed at the prospect of the closure and sale of all but one of the Police stations in Hillingdon.  The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has been warning of the consequences of the continual cuts in Police funding from the Government / Home Office, who provide 75.2% of the funding for the Metropolitan Police Service.

The cut in central government funding has now led to proposals for each of London’s 32 boroughs to only have one Police station open, with any other Police stations closed and then sold off.  This means that within the whole of Greater London there will only be 32 Police stations.  There is also a plan to reduce the number of police officers and to move their operational control from being borough based to a tri-borough command.  Hillingdon is set to be part of a three-borough command with Hounslow and Ealing.

The Conservative administration in Hillingdon are being somewhat economical with the truth by accusing the Labour Mayor for this situation.  However, the whole issue has been created by the swathing cuts by the Conservative government.

After taking account of specific Government grants the planned MOPAC (Mayors Office for Police & Crime) spend in 2017/18 is £2,503.6 million. Of this the Mayor has allocated £29.6m of retained business rates and the allocation of the council tax precept in the sum of £592m, which for a Band D property in London is on average £206.13 p.a. Home Office general grant funding was £1,882.1m. The Mayor funds 24.8% of the net cost of the Met, with Home Office/Government funding 75.2%

On 19th July 2017 the Mayor of London gave a stark warning on the consequences of further government funding cuts, an extract from the Mayors press release states: -

“Sustained real-terms Government cuts have left the Mayor and the Met no choice. Since 2010, more than £600m of savings have already been made. Front counters have closed, buildings have been sold, and 2,800 PCSOs and police staff posts have been lost. A further £400m of savings are needed by 2021 because the flat budget settlement provided by the Government fails to take any account of the increasing demand or inflationary pressure on policing.”

The full Press release from the Mayor can be found at the following link: -

Cllr Peter Curling, The Leader of Hillingdon Labour group, said: -

“We urge the government to shake their magic money tree to find the money needed to keep our Police stations open and keep our residents safe.  We also urge the Hillingdon Conservatives to join us in supporting the Mayor’s call for the government to see sense and abandon their funding formula that is leading to even more cuts, closures and sell offs.”

Cllr Curling added: -

“It is particularly disappointing to see the local Conservatives trying to use this issue for petty party-political point scoring, rather than working together to ensure our residents are kept safe.”

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no 3rd runway

Hillingdon Labour Group is completely and utterly opposed to a third runway at Heathrow airport.

At the full council meeting on 8 th September 2016, the Leader of the council moved a motion reaffirming the council’s opposition to a 3 rd runway, but the motion also advocated that a new runway should be built at Gatwick.

The Hillingdon Labour group do not believe that the London Borough of Hillingdon has any right to make such a decision on Gatwick, or, have the right to advocate that another community has a runway imposed on them. The various anti-expansion campaigning groups over the last decade and more, have always respected each other’s campaigns and that mutual respect remains to be the approach that the Hillingdon Labour group would like to see taken.

The Hillingdon Labour Group could therefore not vote in favour of such a motion, but we did move an amendment, that deleted all references to Gatwick and replaced them with a paragraph relating to the environmental impact that a 3 rd runway would have to Hillingdon residents. We moved this amendment to strengthen the motion and to ensure that the focus of the London Borough of Hillingdon was on the protection of its residents and its communities.

The Labour group amendment was rejected by the controlling Conservative group, so the Labour group could not vote on a motion that advocated an expansion of Gatwick airport, we therefore abstained on the vote.

The latest news in the saga of the 3 rd runway has uncovered further significant questions concerning the environmental impact that a 3 rd runway would have. This would seem to confirm that the Hillingdon Labour group was right to try and amend the Council’s motion to include the environmental impact, rather than advocate that another area should suffer such negative impacts.

The Hillingdon Labour group will continue its unequivocal support for the campaign against Heathrow expansion and we will continue to support the Conservative administration in the fight against Heathrow expansion, but we cannot support Hillingdon’s Conservative administration in their decision to advocate the expansion of Gatwick Airport.

Notes to editors:-

Conservative Group Motion:-

“That this Council notes that the Prime Minister will be chairing the Cabinet Committee on Heathrow and calls upon her and the Government to bring a swift end to the blight of Hillingdon residents living with the constant threat of losing their homes and communities by making a decision on the Airport Commission report as soon as Parliament returns after the summer recess.

Council reaffirms its long standing opposition to Heathrow Airport expansion and its commitment to use all the resources at its disposal to put our residents first and resist any proposal that brings harm to our community. Council further notes that a second runway at Gatwick Airport will deliver the UK the same number of passengers, the same number of long haul routes, better UK and regional connections and the economic boost the UK needs, all at a dramatically lower environmental impact, at less than half the cost of Heathrow and with no public subsidy.

Council, therefore, believes that Gatwick is the most logical airport for increased runway capacity, supports the 'Gatwick Obviously' campaign and urges the Government to choose Gatwick as the best option for South East Airport expansion in the long term interests of London and the UK as a whole.”

Labour Group Amendment:-

Delete last two paragraphs of the motion and replace with

“Hillingdon is experiencing increasing pollution harmful to health, particularly around Heathrow, which is affecting thousands of Hillingdon residents with consequent health and financial costs. Instead of adding to this already unacceptable damage to the environment, communities and human health the Council calls on the Prime Minister and Cabinet Committee on Heathrow to support Hillingdon in trying to combat these problems and resist proposals for Heathrow expansion.”

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Whilst Hillingdon’s Conservative administration claim that they are putting residents first by freezing the Council Tax, what they fail to admit is that this comes at a cost to the residents on low incomes and those residents who are vulnerable or disabled. At the meeting of the full council on Thursday 14th January 2016, the Tories pushed through a change to the Council Tax Reduction scheme, which is more commonly known as Council Tax Benefit.

The council tax reduction scheme for all pensioner and war widow households remains protected by legislation, meaning that the amount they pay cannot be changed, even if their charge is zero. But working age households on low incomes will see their Council tax rise. The amount of council tax being charged to those on the lowest incomes is being raised from 20% to 25%.

Vulnerable residents, which includes many disabled households, will also see their council tax increase. The amount of council tax being charged to vulnerable residents in the most challenging circumstances will rise from zero to 10%.

At the council meeting, Cllr Tony Eginton moved a Labour amendment to stop these changes. The action sought to protect the lowest paid, and most vulnerable residents in the borough, from these proposed rises in the amount of council tax that they pay.

During the debate Cllr Peter Curling (Lab) expressed deep concern for those in most need of help. They are the ones shouldering the financial burden of being unable to afford to heat their homes and needing to use food banks to feed their families. They are now having increased council tax when everyone else is having their council tax charges frozen. Cllr Curling also referred to the public consultation results report. In it, members of the public have expressed concerns regarding the fairness of dramatically raising council tax for the poor and vulnerable.

The Labour amendment was voted down although on the recorded vote for the implementation of the changes to the council tax reduction scheme, one Conservative Councillor, Cllr Shehryar Ahmad-Wallana, voted with the Labour group in opposing these changes.

After the meeting Cllr Curling said “This is an outrageous example of the Nasty Tory Party in action. The poorest and most vulnerable residents in our borough have just been kicked in the teeth by their council. The Tories use the mantra of “Putting Residents First” but, in practice, it is clear that this is not universal. It does not apply to those on low incomes or residents who are vulnerable due to disability or ill health. Once again we see the Tories attacking the least able to pay”.

Cllr Eginton added, “The Leader of the Council stated that this is Tory party policy. So it is quite clear that he is putting party politics before the poorest and most vulnerable residents. He may be protecting middle and high earning households from paying any extra council tax. But the least well off are paying more so that the better off don’t have to. Indeed, in the year after next, their policy implies that there will be even larger increases in tax for the poor and vulnerable. This is penalising people just because they are poor or ill. So much for putting residents first, which the Tories claim”.

The Council Agenda can be accessed Here:-

The Public Consultation Report can be accessed here:-

Download a PDF version of this Press Release Here:-

Council Tax Reduction 2016 Press Release

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