Harrow Labour Councillors called on the Council to declare a ‘Cost of Living Emergency’ and local Stakeholder ‘Summit, at a meeting held last Thursday.
In a press release sent to Harrow Online, Labour said that “Harrow residents are facing an unprecedented cost of living squeeze” and that “Labour Councillors are calling for a local ‘Cost of Living Emergency Summit’ to determine how the Council could best support residents”
The Council ‘Motion’ is seeking to formally recognise the ongoing increases in energy bills, car fuel, National Insurance, food costs and Inflation.
Leader of Harrow Labour, Cllr David Perry, called on Harrow Council to take action to help local residents with the cost of living crisis stating that a ‘Cost of Living Emergency Summit’ would work with local stakeholders including Citizens Advice, Food Banks, Local Trades Unions, Chambers of Commerce and local MPs to determine how Harrow Council could use its influence to best support residents at this difficult time and create positive change.
Prior to the meeting on Thursday, Cllr. David Perry said: “The Labour Group of Councillors are proud to be bringing forward a ‘Motion’ to Full Council on Thursday seeking the Council to declare a ‘Cost of Living Emergency’ and set up a ‘Cost of Living Summit’ in Harrow. We believe the Council needs to take a lead and work with all stakeholders in the Community to see how we can offer further support residents who are finding times really difficult with household bills increasing and incomes continually being squeezed”
Harrow’s Conservative Councillors have voted in favour to “support residents during the current cost-of-living crisis” and have pledged that the Council will hold a cost-of-living emergency summit as well as working with Harrow’s MPs and central government.
Harrow Council Leader, Cllr Paul Osborn, said: “Labour chose not to vote to declare a cost-of-living emergency, despite inflation and rising prices. The new Conservative administration will deliver policies which will help residents with the cost of living. These policies include but are not limited to:
- 1 Hour of Free on Street Parking will commence in August.
- Before the end of the year, the Council will introduce a free bulky waste collection service.
- Extend Free School Meals during school holidays to include May Half Term and the 6-week summer holiday.
“Labour tried to blame the current inflation and energy rises on the government, while failing to mention the global impact of President Putin’s illegal war in the Ukraine or the ongoing economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The Conservatives amended the motion to point out the actions the government has taken and emergency measures which have been implemented to help local people. These measures include:
- A £6 billion tax cut for 30 million working people across the UK, worth over £330 a year, by raising the National Insurance personal threshold from £9,500 to £12,570. Around 70 per cent of all workers will have their taxes cut by more than what they will pay through the levy to sustainably fund the NHS and social care.
- A £150 Council Tax rebate and a £400 discount to energy bills in the autumn.
- £326, the first of two cost of living payments, will automatically be paid into 7 million bank accounts between 14 July and 31 July 2022 as part of the government’s £37 billion support package. The second instalment of £324 will follow from the autumn, with separate payments for pensioners and disabled people also coming later this year.
“The Labour motion also failed to mention the previous Labour administration’s yearly Council Tax rises which have played a role in increasing the cost of living for local people. Harrow Labour has:
- Increased Council Tax by the maximum every year.
- Increased Council Tax by over 31% since 2011, the largest increase of any London Council.
- Increased Council Tax by £79.72 in their February 2022 budget, the largest cash increase of any London Council this year.
- Left Harrow with the second highest Council Tax rate of any London Council during their nearly 12 years in office.
“Harrow Labour also failed to criticise Mayor Sadiq Khan who has increased the Mayor’s precept by 8.8% this year, putting yet more pressure on family finances.
“The Conservative Council and government are working hard to put residents first and support people with the cost of living. Meanwhile Harrow Labour seek to play games and ignore their own role in increasing taxes on residents.”