Councillor Rafiq Raja, Leader of the Labour Group on Wycombe District Council, today welcomed the promises made by the new Executive Leader of WDC and hoped she will be able to make good her promises in the near future.
The new Tory Executive Leader of the Council made four promises last night at the Full Council meeting:
- To fight homelessness and find new homes for young people
- To engage the youth of the district to become more active in politics,
- To protect the green belt and stop the district’s towns and villages becoming a
sprawl of urban mass, and
- To regenerate areas like Frogmoor.
Councillor Raja said, “It’s good to see the Tories on WDC have at last recognised the plight of the homeless and young people in Wycombe struggling to find somewhere decent to live at a price they can afford.
It would of course have been even better if the Tories had recognised the problem years ago and done something about it.
WDC has received about £20 million from the sale of Wycombe’s Council homes. It would have been good if they had spent even some of the proceeds to ease social housing. That is what the Tories promised to do 4 years ago. As it is, not one penny of the proceeds has been spent on affordable or social housing.
WDC is due to receive another tranche of receipts from the sale shortly – a substantial sum of money. All of this should be spent on affordable and social housing in Wycombe.
Meanwhile, young people are still living at home with their parents as they can’t afford to move out. Others are living in unsafe and unhealthy housing because the Tories on WDC refused to license landlords renting out multi –occupied houses. WDC are still putting homeless families into B&Bs.
WDC’s track record in building more affordable and social housing does not stand up to scrutiny and is deplorable.
The situation is going to get worse. The vulnerable and poor in our community have suffered cuts to their benefits. The majority of these cuts have fallen on working people in Wycombe. They are going to face more and more cuts over the next few years from the Tory Government.
The Government is also going to cut the money going to local authorities. The Tories on WDC know this because they have opposed the Tory Government cuts.
None of this was of course mentioned last night.
I was also surprised at the time Tory Councillors spent during the Council meeting congratulating themselves on how well they had performed in the past and how well things would go in the future, and what splendid people they all were - this at a time when in some of our wards a third of our children live in poverty and thousands are using foodbanks.
Tory councillors remain totally divorced from the realities of life of many of the people living in Wycombe.
I look forward to seeing the Tories’ plans for meeting all of the promises they made yesterday. It is easy to make promises but the hard part is to deliver on your promises and the people of Wycombe will be looking for results and not platitudes”.