The Conservatives controlling Bromley Council agreed a 5.79% council tax increase (of which 4.99% is from the council, with 2% specifically to fund social care) The Tories also passed an unimpressive and unimaginative budget which will do little to help vulnerable residents.

As we knew would happen our alternative budget, which was fully costed, balanced and met the challenges faced by the Government’s savage cuts in local government funding over the past nine years, was voted down by the Tories.

Our proposals included:

Saving our high streets and supporting local businesses

In Penge and other shopping areas like the high street, we’d provide funding for small businesses, invest to reopen empty shop properties, offer tax incentives for start-ups and promote schemes to create more jobs locally with local housing associations and community groups. Our vision is for vibrant High Streets people want to buy from and secure, decently paid jobs for residents.

More jobs and businesses will lead to people spending more money in Penge. The resulting funds would lead to increased investment in safety, security, paths and rubbish collection.

Delivering affordable homes and cracking down on dodgy landlords

We would have looked to create more places local people can actually afford to live in – some of it on modular homes aimed at a fast solution to temporary accommodation, the rest of to house residents on our waiting list, many of them currently in over- crowded or unfit properties. We would also introduce a landlord registration scheme to monitor the behaviour of landlords and letting agencies to make sure they comply with the law.

Tackling crime and youth violence

Our budget would pay for the Council to recruit a proactive and dedicated Youth Violence officer working in our communities. We would put money into saving lives and, by recognising the symptoms and causes behind disaffected youths and those affected by mental health issues, put early interventions in place to reduce the risk of getting involved in drugs, violence or gangs and hopefully prevent any more young lives being lost in Bromley.

We continue to push for ideas like these, for better local services, more spending on bin collections, street cleaning and for a council that puts local people’s needs first.

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