December is usually a month when people buy Christmas gifts for those closest to them to cheer them up in the cold and wet. Sadly for Westminster residents, Westminster Council, in league with the Government, has done the reverse. Here is a list of 12 ‘mean and nasty’ Christmas gifts to local residents from their local Conservative Council guaranteed to bring misery and sadness to all;
1. A promise of further cuts to front-line services of around £30 million over the next two years
2. A £93,000 cut in its spending on front-line advice services for the most vulnerable people in Westminster – children, older people and the disabled.
3. An overspending of £1.7 million on the budget for the renovation of Leicester Square
4. Just one affordable flat has been built in Westminster out of the nearly 400 luxury flats that have been given planning permission for change of use from office use to residential in the past year.
5. Over 420 Westminster families will lose nearly £18 a week and a further 91 families will lose nearly £35 a week when the new Bedroom Tax is introduced in April 2013
6. The Council has proposed that an “unelected politburo” is appointed to run the West End
7. The Council is proposing to ban restaurants offering rare or medium-rare burgers
8. In its first year the Westminster Foodbank charity fed 222 adults and 109 children; this is expected to increase during the cold winter months and Christmas period.
9. The number of Westminster families placed in Bed & Breakfast accommodation for more than 6 weeks, contrary to the law, has increased to 140. Westminster City Council has been told by Housing Minister Mark Prisk MP that its continued placing of families in Bed & Breakfast for more than six weeks is “unlawful and unacceptable”.
10. Westminster Council is sending homeless people to live in 30 different local authorities including Great Yarmouth and Essex.
11. A six bedroom house in Lisson Grove, Marylebone, NW1, owned by Westminster City Council, has been vacant for over two years and has cost residents over £14,000 in lost rent and Council Tax.
12. Despite paying sky-high rents to house 2,000 families in temporary accommodation, including in far-away places like Bletchley, Maidstone, Hemel Hempsted and Gray’s, because of the chronic shortage of homes in Westminster, Westminster Conservatives are selling off family homes with gardens to the highest bidder and have plans to sell off more of their declining housing stock.
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, Leader of the Labour Group, said;
“Christmas is supposed to be the season of goodwill but Westminster Council cannot shake off its ‘mean and nasty’ approach to running the Council, even during December. The last month has seen a succession of decisions and announcements which will put a dampner on even the most optimistic spirits, with the promise of even more misery to come as we enter 2013. ”
“Residents can take some comfort from the fact that Westminster’s Labour Councillors, working alongside Karen Buck MP and Murad Qureshi AM, will once again re-double their efforts and will continue to stand up for local people throughout the coming year.”