Harlow Labour leader slams Tories both locally and nationally as he looks back on 2022

News / Wed 28th Dec 2022 at 08:54am

THE LEADER of Harlow Labour, cllr Chris Vince has had a look back on the political year of 2022.

It’s been an unprecedented year for politics. 

A painful year of Tory politics!

What a year it’s been:
3 Prime Ministers
4 Chancellor
3 Home Secretaries 

Billions wiped off the value of the economy in a woeful fiscal experiment
Inflation soaring
Energy bills soaring
Food bills soaring
Foodbank use soaring
Our NHS struggling
School budgets in crisis
The highest tax burden for 70 years.

Not forgetting the Tory Government have declared the immigration system to be broken whilst failing to remember who has been in power for the past 12 years.

This year’s Christmas number one was a reworking of ‘Feed the world’ called ‘Feed the UK’….if this was the case under a Labour government, we’d never hear the end of it.
That’s just a snapshot of the chaos of the Tories at National Government level.

Locally, the picture in Tory run Harlow Council is no less chaotic.
Their long-standing Deputy removed only six months after their leader went the same way
Housing Portfolio holder sacked after months of defending the indefensible Five Acres roofing scandal
The sudden resignation of the CEO of the Council
The exposure of over 1200 homes awaiting repairs to roofs and ceilings
Housing repair waiting times of 4 years or more
Roads with more potholes than Swiss cheese with the County Council having no intention to fix them

An abundance of streetlights not working, with a senior Harlow Conservative saying he’d switch them all off
Loads of talk of ‘plans’ but no evidence of action
The appalling necessity of ‘Warm Banks’ in our town

A major staff recruitment and retention crisis with an admission that many vacancies won’t be filled to cope with a budget deficit.

Tories at national and local level speak of the need for stability whilst delivering the polar opposite.
Our services are under immense pressure due to the slashing of funding to local councils, Harlow has been deprived of £62.4m since 2010. It affects residents at all levels but, despite Tory claims to the contrary, it is always the poorest and most vulnerable who suffer the most.
How many residents can say they are better off now than they were 12 years ago?

And, where is our long promised new hospital?

Only Labour can lead us out of the chaotic and costly blight of the Tory years. Britain needs a Labour Government and Harlow needs a Labour Council.

In 2022 Labour Cllrs have worked hard across our town

Over 50 litter picking sessions

Over 500 pieces of casework tackled

Weekly councillor surgeries

Over 200 canvassing sessions, listening to residents’ issues week in, week out

And, unlike the Conservatives, a group which is united in it’s efforts to help people across our town.

Time for change.  Make 2023 the year you send the Conservative’s a message that enough is enough.

Cllr Chris Vince

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28 Comments for Harlow Labour leader slams Tories both locally and nationally as he looks back on 2022:

Kim Oconnor
2022-12-28 09:29:36

We have a government that only wants to spend money on vanity project s, that only wants to spend money if it makes money, the same as this our local council here. We have a government that is not listening to the people of this country. We have a local council that are the same. All those that you have listed, have been bad for years, even when labour was in. We need money ploughed in to the NHS and other services, not vanity project s thousands of unaffordable housing, we need council houses desperately for the 5OOO people waiting on homes in this town. We need to start listening to people in this town. This council doesn't want to see us, or hear us. Strange that can find money for another vanity project like the town centre, but the pot in very dry, when people need help. PEOPLE FIRST BEFORE PROFIT. PEOPLE FIRST, VANITY PROJECT S SECOND. And we desperately need to bring back walk in centre s, to help our NHS out, and for the people. Labour will be no different if you act like this government, which you have done in past. We need to get back to listening to Harlow people and there needs. With out us, and you lot taking our money, you are nothing. People s needs first and foremost.

Just want Kim to stop whinging
2022-12-28 09:47:52

Kim, can you try to find a council house outside of Harlow nearby? Try Ware, Hertford etc. then Harlow can get on with regeneration and you can get your council house which we the tax payer will happily help pay for you. This way, we won’t have to listen to your moaning looking for the government to pay everything for you as you’ll be sorted. It will also help you stop moaning about Harlow - you know you can move out. Once the regeneration takes place, the social issues can be tackled more with the council tax revenue generated from the new homes coming to Harlow. Until then, please try to move out of Harlow so you can be happy with another council - you are choosing to stay here and whinge and moan - please feel free to move

Iain Lindsay
2022-12-28 10:29:37

Well said, 'Just Want Kim To Stop Whinging. I wish she would devote as much time to learning English Grammar and spelling as she does here. Besides, the issues which the Harlow Communist Party leader harks on existed when they were in power. And throwing endless amounts of money at the NHS won't solve the problems within it. The nurse's strikes aren't about being poorly remunerated as they appear to be on decent salaries if the figures quoted are genuine. Placards bearing 'Tories Out' shows the real purpose behind all these strikes: the removal of a Tory Government.

gary roberts
2022-12-28 11:17:12

Mr. Lindsay I applaud your comment. It was grammatically perfect in every sense and perhaps you should consider writing a novel based on what you wrote. Mind you what you wrote should be examined by a proof reader and determined by an editor as fiction while also suggesting you stop insulting the integrity of many who are on very low wages such as nurses.

2022-12-28 12:24:38

What has Cllr Vince actually done for Harlow this year except provide hundreds of news articles that amount to nothing? It is very easy to carp from the sidelines, but the Harlow Labour party's record in office was appalling - higher council tax every year to pay for their chaos. And let's not forget how many good Labour councillors were forced out by Momentum?! How many by-elections caused and how many Leader's of the Council they had within a few years...the only similarity is that they delivered very little for the people of Harlow. Perhaps a little less carping from the sidelines and a tad more action.

2022-12-28 12:43:50

What an absolute waste of an opportunity to reflect on the year. The first thing he does is just attack the other party. What a hateful end to the year and we’ll done for creating more division and polarisation. Why not focus on what Labour did well or what Labour are doing to win votes back? We all know the troubles this government has had and the impact of it, but writing a whole reflection on it is just petty point scoring. Perhaps if there was less negativity from Labour and more focus on what you’d do differently (and don’t forget just how long you were in power in Harlow and didn’t do any of those things) then maybe people would vote more. Utterly pathetic waste of an article. Equally if the conservatives just blame Labour for all the problems it’d be an equally painful waste of space. Work together, get things done in the interest of people and disagree where you need to, not just snipe at every opportunity.

2022-12-28 13:45:53

Chris Vince spent 2 years working for a homeless charity in Harlow so that's a pretty good start!

David Forman
2022-12-28 18:48:46

It's a pity Chris Vince didn't record any objections to the Tory cuts put in place in the HTS Business Plan this year. This Plan included reductions in the terms and conditions in the new subsidiaries to be created, including a Construction subsidiary that would seek opportunities other than just council contracts. Cllr Joel Charles stated in YourHarlow that the plan had been under discussion for 10 months. Mr Vince stated in a YourHarlow video that he was "happy" with the Business Plan. Having someone who is "happy" with cutting workers' terms and conditions running Harlow Council is fine for a Tory, but not a Labour councillor.

David Forman
2022-12-28 19:21:58

£1.5 million over 5 years, that's the scale of cutting of labour terms and conditions Mr Vince signed up to in the HTS Business Plan. Mr Vince's agreement is contained in Harlow Council Shareholder Sub-Committee minutes 23 March 2022. On page 2, third paragraph: "Overall, the Sub Committee supported the Business Plan ambitions". Examine page 17 of the report pack for that meeting, which contains HTS Business Plan from page 8, and you will see Mr Vince signed up to cuts to terms and conditions, increased productivity and tougher key performance indicators. All to be screwed from the workers. With 'friends' like Mr Vince who needs enemies! See minutes and report pack at: https://moderngov.harlow.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=254&MId=1462&Ver=4

David Forman
2022-12-28 19:50:08

Correction to above: page 18 of reports pack.

Chris Vince
2022-12-28 22:37:32

David I have resisted responding to your comments up until now on a point of principle as you have been both rude and aggressive towards me. It is very bold of you to keep making this assertion about HTS terms of conditions when you didn't attend the share holders subcommittee meeting in question. I know you didn't attend because if you had you would know I did raise this concern. The minutes did not reflect this I agree and I have raised this. Sadly we haven't had a share holders sub committee meeting to be able to rectify this. Your only criticism of me can be that I didn't push for this to be recognised in the minutes. I expect this to be the end of the matter.

2022-12-29 10:04:01

Mr Forman's comments do not come close to being either rude or aggressive but just based on information already in the public domain and therefore unless disproved by, in this case Cllr Vince, have to be held as accurate. In regards to the minutes of the shareholders sub committee the following may be helpful: It is characteristic of all committee discussions and decisions that every member has a vivid recollection of them and that every member's recollection of them differs violently from every other member's recollection. Consequently we accept the convention that the official decisions are those and only those which have officially recorded in the minutes by the officials, from which it emerges with an elegant inevitability that any decision which has been officially reached will have been officially recorded in the minutes by the officials and any decision which is not recorded in the minutes has not been officially reached even if one or more members believe they can recollect it, so in this particular case if the decision had been officially reached it would have been officially recorded in the minutes by the officials. And it isn't so it wasn't.

James Griggs
2022-12-29 10:58:06

Oh Nick, what a pity you don’t have the decency to credit the authors of your plagiarism. Anthony Jay and Johnathan Lynn wrote a masterpiece in Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister and I’m sure they’d be flattered at your use of it but at least give them the credit they deserve.

Kim Oconnor
2022-12-29 11:19:30

I believe I have a strong back bone, so I will ignore both the rude comments on here. But I believe strongly that we all have freedom of speech, I'm allowed mine, and your obviously allowed yours. If you don't like it, THEN JUST DONT READ IT, SIMPLE ISONT IT. I was born in this town, I've lived in my council house 4O, years , so facts need to be corrected. One thing I'm not is ever rude, unlike some. I speak up for the people of Harlow, and will continue to do so.. Thank you.

2022-12-29 11:26:35

Kim O’Connor without detracting from your absolute right to freedom of expression, I do believe you might be exaggerating your claim to speak on behalf of the very diverse population of Harlow. Please correct me if I am mistaken, but haven’t you previously stated that you own buy-to-let properties? If so, why would you be occupying a Council property. If I am mistaken, I apologise in advance.

Kim Oconnor
2022-12-29 12:28:41

Because I lived in my council house for years , its my partners flat, he lives with me now has done for 20 odd years. And we rent his flat out through council, for those waiting on council list for there homes to come up. Which means we rent, for family s to have a home, while waiting . You should know a person , before you add your opions. We do not own loads of property. It s one flat, which we could get a lot more for, but we chose to do this. Hope that clears this up. Just goes to show how people are. I say again if you don't like what I write, please don't read it.

2022-12-29 12:55:58

Kim O'Connor, if you care to read my comment, you will see that I was not making any accusation and actually apologised in advance had I been mistaken, so I was in no way disrespectful towards you. You have frequently made the assertion that there are over 5,000 people on the Council's housing waiting list and that much of the new planned housing in and around the town is 'unaffordable'. If it were truly unaffordable, I am pretty certain that the developers would not be building them. I know of no house builders who choose to build new homes to stand empty. Clearly, people are buying properties in newer areas such as Newhall, Giden Way, etc. Harlow already has a high population density and suitable land is finite. Furthermore, given its strategic location on the London to Cambridge corridor with excellent communication links to the M11, M25, fast train services to London and proximity to Stansted, the town is well suited for companies to move here and house prices are comparatively cheap compared to neighbouring areas offering similar advantages. Finally, there are many cheaper and perfectly good places in the UK to live. During the pandemic, we saw many people moving away from expensive large cities. Everyone has a choice.

David Morris
2022-12-29 22:39:12

Well said Councillor Chris. Do you know what? I like that you your platform and slammed the tories. Yes they deserve it and another thing, what you have said is irrecoverably true. How can the truth be deemed as divisive? Happy new year all.

2022-12-30 11:39:33

So Kim O’Connor, you and your partner are Landlords renting out a private flat for profit whilst living in a Council property at a reduced rent. ????

Kim Oconnor
2022-12-31 11:04:47

I don't own the flat, it's my partner s, he bought it when I wasn't with him. We decided to rent it through council to help people have a home, while waiting for there permanent place. Now please, I've had enough of all this..

Kim Oconnor
2022-12-31 11:07:59

Your Harlow. I don't mind the odd criticism. But , this is just ridiculous now.

Staff Reporter
2022-12-31 11:34:59

Hell Kim, Understood. You've cleared that up and we will monitor etc. MC

Kim Oconnor
2022-12-31 17:38:26

Thank you.

2023-01-02 13:18:15

Kim O’Connor, you have not addressed my point regarding alleged ‘unaffordable’ housing. AsI mentioned and as is plain to see, new developments at place like Newhall, Edinburgh Way and Gilden Way are being readily sold. Furthermore, the Zoopla website shows that all categories of residential property are considerably cheaper in Harlow than in neighbouring towns offering similar strategic advantages. For example, the average terraced house in Harlow is almost 20% cheaper than Bishop’s Stortford, 33% cheaper than Hertford and 45% cheaper than Epping. It is hardly surprising that people wish to locate here. This is a highly sought after region given its proximity to London and Stansted airport, good train and road links. Harlow is comparatively very affordable. There are many cheaper areas in the UK.

Nicholas Taylor
2023-01-02 13:55:46

You miss the point James, the homes being built now are not in the main affordable for the people who already live here, those on low incomes who will never be able to afford to buy a home. The town will in 15 years time be ringed with homes none of which will be Council owned, all with a non Harlow address so priced accordingly. Perhaps most importantly of all, the only areas where more homes in Harlow can be built in the future will be on the towns green spaces, which developers already see as potential development sites. In your scenario you might just as well compare a terrace house with one in say Walthamstow, where terrace houses cost £800k. The simple fact is, Tory housing policies since 1980 have been led by their many donors, the housebuilding firms who have made BILLIONS of pounds profits. In the meantime the number of truly affordable homes, that is Council owned ones, has dropped to about a third of what it was in 1980. The simple fact is, the private sector has never built the country out of a housing crisis.

2023-01-03 09:23:09

Nicholas, I do not disagree regarding the issues with respect to housing shortages both locally and nationally. However, using your example, what do people in Walthamstow do? I do not see how you do not appreciate the point that Harlow property is comparatively cheap when compared with its immediate neighbours. I strongly believe that local government reform will occur resulting in the HGGT district falling under a single authority. There is a clear tendency towards more efficient larger unitary councils and increased shared services between smaller district authorities as a prelude to such moves. Although I am not advocating this for Harlow or Essex, in 2020 Buckinghamshire unified its 4 district councils along with Bucks County Council into a single authority, generating significant savings and efficiencies so it can be done. Becoming part of a larger authority will provide land, that Harlow does not have to provide more council and affordable housing.

Nicholas Taylor
2023-01-03 12:47:45

It is only cheap for those on high wages, the average person in this town is not on average wage that why there are about 5000 applicants on the waiting list for a home. You forget that there is a housing crisis in Walthamstow, thousands on the councils waiting list there as well. The simple fact is, whilst tens of thousands of new private homes are being built only a relative handful Council ones are being built. If only you could have spent a month with me whilst at work you would see what the problem of a housing crisis really means for so many. Your last paragraph shows how out of touch you are, it just means building even more on the green belt. The real housing crisis will get far worse in the decades to come as things stand. Creating a unitary authority with for instance EFDC would be a disaster for the future of Harlow.

2023-01-04 02:01:36

Nicholas, you yourself have acknowledged that Harlow has high population density and scant land available for new housing, Council or private. In Harlow, the population size has increased by 13.9%, from around 81,900 in 2011 to 93,300 in 2021 within the same boundaries. This beyond all the original plans for the town. Without being part of a larger geographic authority, the situation can only worsen. Local authority restructuring is inevitable.

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