THURROCK Labour is celebrating a victory in the council chamber over Tory plans to introduce possible service charges for the most vulnerable residents in Thurrock.
At Wednesday’s (22nd February) Full Council meeting, the Conservative administration’s Housing Revenue Account budget was defeated at the vote.
The budget item would have given the Tory Cabinet the green light to possibly introduce service charge hikes for sheltered housing tenants along with fomenting described by some as a “Tenant Top-Up Tax” for other council tenants.
Tenants in sheltered housing would have been liable for service charges increasing up to £780 per year, while some other council tenants could have seen an introduction of service charges of up to £400 per year claim Labour.
The 13 Labour councillors were joined by six UKIP councillors. Seven UKIP councillors abstained.
Speaking after the meeting, Labour Councillor Barbara Rice said: “Residents are outraged by these proposals. We are determined to stand up for them and block the plans going forward. We heard from tenants this evening about the devastating effect that this would have on them.
“We’ve spoken to many residents in sheltered housing, and they can’t believe that the council would stab them in the back like this. We should be looking after elderly and vulnerable people in our communities, not squeezing them for every penny they’ve got.”
Councillor Oliver Gerrish added “The Government’s gimmick of giving 1% off council tenant rents has meant a £710,000 loss of revenue for the council in the coming year. What the Tories are seeking to do is to pass the cost straight back onto council tenants – raising £700,000 from a combination of service charges for tenants and hitting vulnerable residents in sheltered housing. They are giving with one hand and taking it straight back with the other.”
Cllr Gerrish continued “People will simply not be able to pay these increases. Having to find the best part of a thousand pounds more per year is out of the question for many of our residents.”
However, despite the Labour victory in the chamber, Thurrock Conservatives appear committed to going through the “consultation” process and attempting to bring the new charges forward.
Thurrock Labour have resolved to block the HRA budget unless all plans to expand tenant service charges and introduce the Sheltered Accommodation charges are dropped completely.
I love the fact that the word “consultation” was in quote marks in the penultimate paragraph because that indicates exactly what it is – a sham. The Tories will make sure that the charges are applied regardless of the result of the “consultation” (which is therefore a complete waste of money to run) and any opposition in the Council chamber.
Welcome to Tory Britain where the Tories say “Screw the poor because we’re not!”
I love the JDP inspired plan
The council tax band “Z” lol. Will see a cut in council tax bills. The poorest have to pay for it.
The Vulnerable don’t have the means to pay.
£700BN for there banker friends.