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Letter to Editor: The Harlow Tories..saying a lot but in fact saying very very little……

News / Wed 5th May 2021 at 07:19pm

Dear Editor

COUNCILLOR Charles recent contribution sums up the Tory ability to appear to say a lot but in fact say very little. But its real danger is in its use of deception and pretence in speaking as if nothing is happening to address the issues that the Town faces.

Yes, Harlow’s Councils role will be “pivotal over the coming months” as the Town recovers from Covid. That is why the Labour administration set up a cross party Covid Recovery Group to grapple with the issues. That is why it meets with the Business, Health and Voluntary Sector, and why the Council recently published a road map for the opening up of Council services.

Yes, of course Harlow will need to encourage the “expansion of enterprise and make Harlow a national centre for research and innovation”. That is why as a Labour administration we already have a “Growth Board” doing exactly that. Harlow is attracting businesses as can be seen by the development of the Enterprize Zone, the Public Health England Laboratories and Logistics developments in the west of the Town.

Councillor Charles speaks of regenerating the Town Centre and the development of a “Cultural Quarter”, accessing Government funds and private sector funds; when he knows that there are already well-developed proposals and discussions underway with central Government to do exactly that.

He talks of a “green agenda”, but he is on the record for dismissing out of hand a feasibility study for developing a environmentally sustainable transport network across the Town (and by the way nobody has ever proposed a monorail as suggested in Tory election material).

He talks of backing the voluntary and charitable sector, when he knows what bedevils these sectors is the fact that they are continuously having to chase funding as schemes are only ever “short term funded”

He mentions “affordable housing”, without defining what he means by that term. He then suggests that Harlow Council
are “Purely focussing on the acquisition of the existing housing for rent” – when he knows this is not the case as can be seen for example in the building of Council Houses in Bushey Croft.

So let us look very briefly at the record of the Tory Party over the last 11 years as a government and as a County Council
We have seen the Magistrates and County Court closed, bus services cut, youth services cut, schools underfunded, library book stocks cut by 30%, Essex Police reduced by over 600 officers, the outrage that is Terminus House and every day we have to drive over the potholes in our roads.

In conclusion, Councillor Charles might have some credibility if he had the humility to look at the detrimental effect his party’s policies have had on our town , if he had some record of challenging the Government, and if he had truly detailed a strategic vision. What we got instead was arrogant, vacuous and deceptive.

Cllr Tony Edwards

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