Cllr David Monk leader of SDC is up to his old tricks again.
Either he cannot recollect what he promised or he can’t remember what he promised you the residents of Shepway with regards to new council housing across Shepway.
In 2015 the Folkestone and Hythe Conservative Manifesto upon which , Cllr Monk campaigned promises to build 300 new homes over 10 years
At point 5 of the Tory Manifesto under the heading “Some Important Conservative Achievements” it states: More housing for our residents. We are building the first council houses in Shepway for 20 years. This is part of a 10 year new build programme that will produce over 300 extra homes.
Well that’s all fine and dandy. Cllr Monk put his name to the Corporate Plan in 2013 (page 5) to Provide new high quality council owned housing 300 homes built over a 10 year period. Now Cllr Monk has moved the goalposts (not for the first time, nor the last no doubt) by what he says is due to the “recent policy changes announced by the Government”, so now 300 promised houses on which he and his fellow Conservative Colleagues will become 200 houses.
How has this happened.
It involves a technical adjustment of social rent calculations (the maximum amount of rent a local authority or registered social landlord can increase the charges to a tenant) from the retail price index of inflation (RPI) + 0.5% (+ up to £2 per week) to the consumer price index of inflation (CPI) +1%.
Government costing documents show that by 2017-2018 the expenditure on housing benefit to local authorities (and presumably housing associations) will be reduced by between £405m and £540m lower than would have been the case had the RPI measure been retained. This is money that will no longer be invested in refinancing housing revenue accounts, paying housing association mortgages, or investing in the supply of social housing.
This was all set out in the Chancellor’s spending review speech on 26/06/2013. So to inform Cllr Mary Lawes on the 18/02/16 at Full Council that “recent changes in Government policy” have made them rethink their position and the numbers is absolute twaddle. Cllr Monk would have known full well that his Manifesto in 2015 was not correct, and to campaign on the fact was utterly disingenuous, and he knows it.
Housing Shortage in Shepway & the rise of Homelessness
SDC’s housing waiting list is well over 2000 and homelessness has risen by 42% in Shepway and we will get 100 less houses than promised. Cllr Monk can kick the ball back into Central Governments hands, but we ask if spending £5.3 million on land in Otterpool lane Sellindge could have been better spent on much needed housing.
Also the fact that SDC under Conservative stewardship has its largest debt in its history while Cllr Monk has been leader of SDC and Cllr Monk’s 2015 Conservative manifesto states: Conservative control of Shepway District Council is a recipe for financial prudence.
Is £62.5 million pounds worth of debt financial prudence?
Shepway will get 100 less homes in the next ten years, Cllr Monk can blame central govt all he likes but if he and his fellow Conservative Colleages had been more prudent then perhaps he could have created a surplus in SDC’s finances which would have allowed these 100 houses to be built, but alas Cllr Monk forgot to put something away for a rainy day. Is this a leader that we should continue to trust with the finances of SDC? We at Shepwayvox believe not.
If you want to contact Cllr Monk Leader of SDC or Cllr Alan Ewart-James their contact details can be found here