IN a series of editorials, between now and the May local elections, the leader of Harlow Council, cllr Mark Ingall is reflecting on a series of issues.
Today, he looks at the town’s finances.
Cllr Ingall said: “Since 2010 the cumulative total of Tory government cuts to grants to Harlow is £14.3M, which if it were given back would be enough to give every resident a two year holiday from Council tax. Given the scale of Tory cuts it has therefore been necessary for Harlow to raise council tax to replace these cuts, but thanks to good financial management and money returned from HTS, a Labour created company, the Harlow Council increase amounts to 40p per month for a Band C resident.
Harlow has used some of Council tax receipts to reverse cuts made by Essex County Council like keeping our street lights switched on. Harlow is the only district in Essex to have its street lights on, while curfew time in the rest of Essex is from 12 midnight onwards. We have restored all the funding to the Playhouse, to Pets Corner and to cover the reopening of the museum. These facilities were scheduled to be run down or closed by the last Tory administration of Harlow Council.
We continue to be a living wage employer and we have taken on apprentices at the living wage to provide training and new job opportunities for the young.
Our ambitious house building programme, put on hold due to government cuts, has now been restored with the first new houses due to be started this year. These will be houses for rent on long term, secure tenancies at truly affordable rents, unlike those Council houses that Government forced the Council to sell houses are now in the hands of private landlords charging exorbitant rents on short term insecure tenancies.
“It is worth comparing Harlow’s 40p increase for enhanced services and no cuts to Tory Essex County Council, who have increased their tax by £3.61 and still intend to slash services like Harlow’s libraries”.
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