Grantham Journal columnist: Council budget will be life changing for some people

Charmaine Morgan.

Charmaine Morgan.

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Grantham Labour Group member Charmaine Morgan writes:

Ill-considered Government changes to housing benefit known as the bedroom tax, along with council tax and council rent increases will be proposed in full council this week.

Council tax benefit changes will be cemented too. For some people this council budget will be life changing. Approximately 6,000 local residents in private and council homes are affected by the council tax benefit changes and more than 1,057 affected by the bedroom tax. The council does not have a duty to re-house everyone. The Labour Group is proposing that the council adds to the Government’s discretionary payment fund to provide some protection from a rent arrears situation that could leave them in crisis. We also support measures to help those affected with moving costs. But we can do nothing for the tenants to compensate the thousands of pounds they may have spent on their home in the belief they would be staying until they chose to leave under the Government measures.

It is good news that the council will be building 30 new council homes, though the sale of houses continues.

To offer hope to local people the Labour Group will propose a range of initiatives to encourage tourists into Grantham. This includes a new craft centre located in the heart of town. We also propose an exhibit and statue/bust of Lady Thatcher.

Contrary to some rumours, despite our personal strength of feeling about her, we feel the controversy and outside interest around Lady Thatcher provides an opportunity to attract international tourists to our town, who spent £11bn in our region last year. This cannot be ignored. A secure location such as The George Centre or museum is recommended. It is now up to the Conservatives to join us and support these proposals.