Tag Archives: Kensington Labour Party

Kensington Labour ‘Mansion Tax’ comment in The Standard

Letter in Standard 25.6.1424.6.14 (letter published in The Standard, left)

Councillor Emma Dent Coad Leader of Opposition Labour Group says:

‘Kensington and Chelsea is an exceptional borough in many ways, and the way that property prices have rocketed has little to do with their intrinsic value, and more to do with a global poker game for the super-rich; at some point this game will fold and the players will move on.

‘The Council Tax system as it currently functions is anachronistic, and works as yet another effective subsidy to landlords. This is in addition to capital gains tax relief, lack of property tax, and the ease of obtaining buy to let mortgages at preferential rates based on interest only. In most other European countries the owner pays the tax, not the beleaguered rental occupier; there is a logic to this as it is the owner who profits long-term.

‘The system currently being considered by Ed Balls would have unintended consequences in Kensington and Chelsea, and we have many questions and concerns that we have already made public. We have 12,000 homes worth over £2m in the borough, and 7,000 of those have been in the same ownership since 1999; some of these are families, retired people, or others on fixed incomes. The prospect of a Mansion Tax as currently envisaged would drive out these families and long-term residents, whether owners or renters, who tell us ‘it’s my borough too’.

‘Our counter-proposal would consider a revaluation of property, and setting more Council Tax bands, so some would pay less, and others more. We are working on the detail of this, while we wait for more detail on how a proposed Mansion Tax would work.

‘It cannot be right that the Sultan of Brunei pays just £10/week more for his 16-bed mansion than our Mrs Braithwaite in North Kensington for her three-bedroom Council home.’

 

 

 

 

END OF TERM REPORT: shameful results with inevitable consequences for K&C Tories

END OF TERM REPORT

 

The ten posts highlighting different areas of inequality in K&C were posted one per day in the run-up to the Council Budget-setting meeting on 5 March 2014. The borough known as ‘The Royal Bank of Kensington and Chelsea’ has £180m in Reserves – and some of the poorest residents in London.

The statements are based on evidence, not dogma or the Daily Mail. Links to sources can be found below.

Links:

Ward profiles

http://www.rbkc.gov.uk/communityandlocallife/2011censusoutcomes.aspx

Overcrowding

http://www.rbkc.gov.uk/pdf/Families_housing.pdf

Neighbourhood statistics

http://www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/

Income inequality

http://www.londonspovertyprofile.org.uk/indicators/topics/inequality/pay-inequalities-within-london/

Minimum Income Standard

http://www.lboro.ac.uk/research/crsp/mis/

http://www.londonspovertyprofile.org.uk/key-facts/overview-of-london-boroughs/

Recipients of Pension Credit

http://www.data.london.gov.uk

TOP TEN TORY FAILURES #5 – from ‘the most unequal borough in Britain’

Every day between 20 Feb and 5 March, when they will announce their alternative Budget, Kensington Labour Group will announce an area of extreme inequality in Kensington and Chelsea ‘the most unequal borough in Britain’.

The borough known as ‘The Royal Bank of Kensington and Chelsea’ has £180m in Reserves – and some of the poorest residents in London.

 

#5, 26.2.14 income, LLWopera (2)Weds 26 Feb

5. INCOME INEQUALITY

The median income in Kensington and Chelsea is now £101,600, the highest in the country; this is still not enough to buy a home at the average cost of £1,178,000. However the mean average income is £36,000, and one-third of all workers, the majority in North Kensington earn below £20,000.

World’s End estate, income inequality = worst (£13,125 equivalent of a year at minimum wage)

Hobury Street, Stanley ward = best (cc£100,000)

Cross King’s Road in this area and you go from the best to the worst income in London.

The Council has refused to pay its own low-paid workers London Living Wage of £8.80, or to insist its contractors pay the same, stating it would cost £1m; this is nearly equal to the sum the Council underwrites for the losses of running Opera Holland Park.

Labour supports OCS picket

27 August 2013
GMB OCS strikers with Labour Cllrs and supporters 2 27.8.13Labour councillors and activists today joined the picket line with strikers from the OCS contractors who provide cleaning services to all the Council’s housing estates. Unlike other contract staff, these cleaners not only earn much less than the London Living Wage (£7.18 per hour rather than £8.55 per hour) but have had their pay frozen for the coming year, while other contract staff will get an increase of 3%.
Such low pay makes it impossible for workers to live in London and bring up their families without recourse to welfare top-ups, such as Housing Benefit. OCS shareholders have long enjoyed healthy dividends from the efforts of these dedicated low paid workers and the company can well afford to pay a decent living wage. Instead, shareholders enjoy a subsidy from every income tax payer (including OCS cleaners) whose hard earned money provides the welfare benefits that top up low pay and deliver huge company profits.
Labour Group Leader Cllr. Judith Blakeman said “It is disgraceful that the Council and the TMO, unlike even the Mayor of London, do not require all their contractors to pay the London Living Wage to their workers, many of whom have served them loyally for a very long time”. Cllr. Pat Mason, Labour’s trade union liaison officer, added: “it is not a matter of residents having to pay higher service charges for cleaning. OCS shareholders should take their fair share of cuts in these times of austerity and top managers should stop expecting the tax payer to subsidise their bonuses”.
Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors in Kensington and Chelsea have consistently refused Labour demands that all the Council’s contract staff be paid the London Living Wage. While most of the Council’s contractors do pay it, Labour councillors expect a fair and consistent approach to all workers delivering services to Borough residents and urge OCS to get back to the negotiating table.

COUNCIL SPENDS £1M ON SOUTH KEN PARTY BUT WILL NOT SAVE NORTH KEN SKATE PARK

Residents of a North Kensington estate are furious as Kensington and Chelsea Council has refused to intervene to protect a popular children’s skate-park from demolition. Wornington Green estate, currently undergoing an unwanted re-development, has already lost precious play-space since the Council gave the developers – Catalyst Housing Group – permission to build on half the local park. This latest outrage – which came without warning or consultation – will see the skate-park replaced with Portacabins right at the start of the summer holidays.

At the same time as spending £1 million on a nine-day party in Exhibition Road to celebrate the Olympics, the Council is presiding over the loss of sporting facilities for under-privileged children just when they are most needed. As demolishing the skate-park without providing replacement facilities is not part of the approved construction plan, the Council could have intervened to save it.

Local Councillor Emma Dent Coad said:
“It would be disgraceful to demolish a children’s playground at any time; to do so just before the summer holidays is an outrage. The irony of destroying sporting facilities for young people in the opening week of the Olympics makes this doubly sickening. The Council is spending £1 million on a nine-day booze-fuelled bender for tourists in Exhibition Road, but turning its back on poorer residents.

“Catalyst Housing Group says that residents should understand that demolishing a skate-park and nearby mature trees just before the summer holidays is for their benefit. However, there are other sites, currently used as temporary car parks, that are available instead. Sadly, both the Council and Catalyst are riding rough-shod over opportunities for healthy play by young children in favour of staff car parks and a mega booze-fest in Exhibition Road. Frankly, we’ve had enough.”