Harlow Tories and Labour clash over universal credit
News / Sat 30th Oct 2021 at 10:32am
THERE WAS a bitter war of words between Harlow Conservatives and Harlow Labour over Universal Credit (UC) at a council meeting on Thursday night.
Both parties came armed with statistics:
Councillor Tony Edwards (Lab) detailed that 11,719 Harlow residents were on UC. 4,072 were in work and 7.047 were not working.
However, Conservative councillor Gareth Williams told the council that he had gone onto job website indeed.co.uk and found over 900 job vacancies in Harlow including eight at Harlow Council and four at HTS.
Labour had tabled a motion but the Conservatives tabled an amendment that was voted through.
The animosity which exists between the two parties was plain to see again at this Full Council meeting, the only difference from the past is that the Tories are now in control of the Council. Most of the questions put by myself and the Deputy Leader of the Harlow Alliance Party were not answered, but what is evident is that the Council have abandoned their own council house building programme, apparently the derelict sites at the former Lister House plot and Elm Hatch and others are now being actively promoted to developers. When I pointed out that two of the sites due for redevelopment listed in December 2020 are in fact subject to what is known as a Community Right to Bid (where if the Council decided to sell land, it has to offer it to the community first), it was clear that the Portfolio holder had no idea of what I was talking about. Readers will be aware that Cllr Swords accused me of writing false truths about the redevelopment of the Town Centre nearly two weeks ago and offered to meet me to discuss this. To date he has failed to make such arrangement. The Tories, just like Labour in the past are all smoke and mirrors.
I suspect that many of the people who voted tory in the 2019 gen election and in subsequent council elections did so with the view that people should work for an income not have it handled to them on a plate. I believe labour have to make a major policy shift to have any chance of being elected.
You might want to listen to the debate - it detailed the numbers of people on Universal Credit who were 1. in work, 2. not working and 3. those who because of disability or caring responsibilities are not required to work. It also highlighted fact that the Tory Reform Group and Tory One Nation Group caucus ( over 100 Tory Mps, including Ian Duncan Smith and Robert Halfon) had called for the temporary £20 uplift to be made permanent. Only to subsequently concede to pressure from the Government whips and abstain in a vote in September. The argument to retain the uplift didn't change, the facts didn't change, but the resolve among Tory Mp's did. And over 11,000 Harlow people will have to struggle with consequences of their decision.
Mr Taylor, I’ve responded to your email. You did not reply.
I again point out your array of inaccuracies. The council house building programme is being massively bolstered and you will see the huge programme announced very soon.
The ONS isn't the explicit view of Harlow residents. I just want to make sure that our councillors know that they can talk to the normal person in Harlow about their view, you know that the councillors of both sides represent the Harlow person not national stats.........