You can see our 2017 City Council Report here.
Your third ‘Annual report’ from Labour Councillors details the many ways we have protected and improved the services you value the most. We are continuously increasing council efficiency to offset the ending of all core Government grant in 2019, and to make sure every penny of your council tax is spent well.
We target £1.1m to Cambridge residents who need our help the most, plus £900,000 in grants for local voluntary groups. We are funding Citizens Advice Bureau outreach advice centres, and encouraging and supporting businesses so that hundreds more local employees now receive the ‘Real Living Wage’ of at least £8.45/hour, the minimum needed to survive in Cambridge.
Building more affordable housing is critical. Labour’s Mayoral candidate Councillor Kevin Price secured £70m from Government for at least 500 new Cambridge council homes by 2022, plus £100m devolution funding for over 2000 new Cambridgeshire Housing Association homes.
We persuaded the City Deal to develop a central Cambridge ‘Clean Air Zone’, and have already won significant financial backing from the Government to tackle air pollution in the city, including over £400,000 to support electric taxis.
We kept city streetlights burning overnight despite the County Council switch-off, and are now paying extra to increase light brightness until 2am, ensuring people young and old return home safely.
We work closely with Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner and your Labour County Councillors to get the best deal for Cambridge, and protect jobs after Brexit.
Finally, our officers have helped us identify a massive £50m in previously idle council reserves forgotten by the Lib Dems. We are investing it in property and housing to earn millions to protect your services, and all of this helps us create ‘One Cambridge – Fair for All’.
Councillor Lewis Herbert
Leader of Cambridge City Council
If you want to raise an issue with us or ask a question, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring us on 01223 500515.
In the wake of huge public support for refugees, Cambridge City Council has teamed up with the Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign (CRRC) to reach out to private landlords for help.
The Home Office has given permission for the council to use vacant private properties for resettling Syrian refugees and the council is now asking private landlords for their help in accommodating refugees.
Cllr Lewis Herbert, Leader of the Council, said: “Working with private landlords and citizens through the resettlement campaign, to offer accommodation to refugees, is a welcome and important way to expand the numbers of people that Cambridge can rehome.
“Any accommodation offered, of course, will have to meet Home Office expectations and also the council standard. All landlords will receive a rental income.”
Stefan Haselwimmer, Head of the CRRC, said: “Private landlords are keen to help and we’ve had offers of accommodation from a number of private landlords already.
“By working in partnership with the council, we can reach out to all private landlords across the region and turn the public’s desire to help refugees into practical action. If we all think carefully about what we can offer as individuals, we can make a huge difference to how we respond to this humanitarian crisis.”
The council will inspect any properties offered to ensure they are of an appropriate standard and where rents are requested they would have to be affordable under the Home Office scheme, which will be in line with council rents.
All properties must be self-contained units rather than spare rooms, due to Home Office prohibitions against the use of spare rooms for resettling refugees.
The idea for the partnership was inspired by similar initiatives in Heidelberg, Cambridge’s German twin city.
Cllr Herbert added: “Our twin city is using innovative solutions involving the community to deal with the refugee crisis. The enthusiasm and passion of our community really can transform how we respond to the refugee crisis. Coming together as a city and offering sanctuary to those in need is a proud Cambridge tradition.”
Cllr Kevin Price, Executive Councillor for Housing, said: “In order to integrate successfully and recover from the trauma they have experienced, refugees will need at least two years security of tenure.
“This would be the minimum period a property would need to be guaranteed for to enable them to settle into the community. The council, through its housing management team, will support the refugees to maintain the properties in good order.”
If you are a landlord or property developer and would like to discuss how you could make a difference, contact Dik Veenman on 07887 651988 or via email@example.com
For other ways to help refugees that are displaced visit the council’s website at: www.cambridge.gov.uk/Syrian-refugees
The Living Wage Foundation today named Cambridge City Council as its Employer Champion for the Eastern region in the national Living Wage Champion Awards.
Duncan Catchpole, manager of local produce distributor Cambridge Organic Food Company was also today named as the winner in the Leadership Champion category for the Eastern region.
The awards successes were revealed by the Leader of the council, Cllr Lewis Herbert, during a celebratory event at The Guildhall, attended by local Living Wage-accredited employers, to mark the start of Living Wage Week.
At the same event Cllr Herbert told those attending that the new 2016-17 Living Wage rate for the UK (excluding London) will be £8.25 per hour, and gave details of three newly-accredited Living Wage employers in Cambridge – KH Cleaning & Hygiene Supplies, Cambridge Baby and Outspoken! Deliveries.
The event kicked off a week of events in the city for Living Wage Week, including a free event ‘Making the Living Wage Work for Cambridge Employers’ on Tuesday 3 November at The Trinity Centre on Cambridge Science Park; a campus meeting with speakers at Anglia Ruskin University, and a ‘No Pay Day’ event organised by Cambridge University Students’ Union to highlight the gender pay gap.
The nationwide Living Wage campaign has been promoted in the city by the council since last year, as part of its anti-poverty strategy. Employers choose to pay the Living Wage on a voluntary basis and can then seek accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation. The campaign’s aim is to encourage employers to pay all staff more than the national minimum wage, to reflect the true cost of living.
Cllr Herbert said: “These awards are tremendous news for the council and for Duncan Catchpole.”
“Since becoming accredited as a Living Wage employer in 2014 the council has worked hard to promote the very real benefits to employers and employees of becoming Living Wage-accredited, and we will continue to champion this.”
Cllr George Owers, Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources, said: “In the Cambridge area 32 organisations are now accredited employers, which is encouraging, but 15 per cent of jobs in Cambridge were being paid less than the Living Wage rate in 2014 - so there is still plenty of work to do.
“Cambridge is an expensive city to live and work in – by paying the Living Wage employers can retain their staff longer, keep them more motivated and improve their organisation’s image with the public. I’d urge any employer in the city to get in touch with the council to find out more about becoming accredited.”
Since the Living Wage campaign in Cambridge was launched in November 2014, the number of accredited organisations in the city has doubled from 16 to 32. Another 33 organisations have confirmed that they recognise the Living Wage and have adjusted their pay scales to take it into account.
During the last year the council’s Living Wage Coordinator, Theresa Bateman, has contacted more than 700 local organisations, and has held events at the Open University, St John’s Innovation Centre and Cambridge Science Park to promote the Living Wage.
Cambridge Organic Food Co was the first food distributor locally to become accredited as a Living Wage employer in May this year. The company represent organic farms and producers around Cambridge, deliver boxes of organic fruit and vegetables to customers, and supply produce to independent organic, specialist and health food shops in the area.
Labour councillors hit back at false Liberal Democrat claims that City Council has cut local policing
Cambridge Labour councillors have hit back at false claims in Cambridge Liberal Democrat leaflets that the Labour-led City Council is cutting local police services and funds available to Cambridge police. Labour-run Cambridge City Council is ending a contribution to the tune of £51,000 per year paid for a decade direct to Cambridgeshire Constabulary central funds in Huntingdon, after receiving confirmation from senior police officers that this change will have no impact at all on police services in Cambridge.
The annual contribution was first paid in 2005, along with one-off payments by other councils for then new Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs). The city alone continued payment as similar payments by other Cambridgeshire councils ended shortly after, as has been confirmed by the current Deputy Police Commissioner in relation to East Cambridgeshire District Council, where he was previously the authority’s leader.
Detailed statistics for Cambridge PCSOs also show numbers have moved up and down irrespective of council contributions. Cambridgeshire Police also confirmed that the ending of council funding will make no difference to PCSO numbers in the city.
Labour has also criticised Lib Dem leaflets for repeatedly using a photo from Wikipedia in their leaflets of a 2008 riot of football supporters at Piccadilly Gardens, central Manchester, that has no connection at all to Cambridge.
On policing, the Labour-led council is investing over £350,000 in 2015 in initiatives to reduce crime and combat domestic violence, supporting also police plans to tackle alcohol-linked violence, and implement new Public Space Protection Orders to cut anti-social behaviour by intoxicated drinkers in the Mill Road area after a consultation survey showed 67% local support. These new measures have all come about after Labour seized control of the City Council from the Lib Dems in May 2014.
On the Liberal Democrat record on policing, Labour Councillors point to damaging police funding changes voted in by Julian Huppert and other Lib Dem MPs. The Cambridgeshire Police Commissioner, which Julian Huppert voted for, has private office costs that would fund 30 extra Police Constables. Liberal Democrats MPs in the Coalition have also voted for cuts of £19.8 million in the Cambridgeshire police budget central grant, says Labour, which has led to 94 fewer Cambridgeshire police staff since 2010.
Leader of Cambridge City Council, Councillor Lewis Herbert, said: “Since 2005, the previous Lib Dem City Council has effectively gifted Cambridgeshire Constabulary roughly £400,000 and received nothing in return. Instead, we are reinvesting this money in vital public services including new crime initiatives without affecting any PCSOs in the city. Cambridge residents and businesses already pay for policing through a totally separate part of their Annual Council Tax, and the Police Commissioner clearly thinks there’s no need for extra local funds as he froze Council Tax funding for policing this year.
“The Liberal Democrats are being irresponsible and cynical in spreading false claims, playing on people’s fear of crime for attempted political benefit. I hope they raise their standard of debate in the seven weeks before the elections because the residents of Cambridge deserve better.”
“Instead of misleading the public and seeking a distraction, Liberal Democrats should increase policing finances by supporting Labour’s plan to end the wasteful new Police Commissioners, voted through by Julian Huppert and Liberal Democrat MPs. The Cambridgeshire Police Commissioner’s private office costs £1.2 million a year, money which would fund 30 extra Police Constables. We will also not take lectures from Liberal Democrats MPs who have voted for national cuts of £19.8 million in Cambridgeshire policing since 2010, particularly given the new initiatives added by our Council to help the police cut crime in Cambridge.”
Your 2015 Annual City Council Report
… from your Labour Councillors
- protect the services we know our residents value the most and make improvements where we can
- target spare resources to help those who need us the most
- build more affordable homes and tackle empty homes and problems faced by people in the private rented sector
- implement plans to improve transport and cycling, and tackle congestion
- make efficiency savings to minimise the impact of the Coalition cuts and reorganise the council’s finances to earn a better return for residents.
To update all residents we have produced a detailed eight page annual report on 50 improvements to make Cambridge fairer, greener, safer and cleaner, and better run here
Compare our delivery against the commitments we made in 2014 www.cambridgelabour.org.uk/2014manifesto
and you will see we have been very busy, delivering over 90% of our ‘promises’ last year, which was only possible because of the great team of people who work for you at the City Council.
Our priorities for the coming year will be detailed in a further ‘2015 Manifesto’
If you want to raise an issue with us or ask a question, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring us on 01223 500515.
Councillor Kevin Price, Executive Councillor for Housing at the Labour-run Cambridge City Council, has hit out at the government after the announcement that funding to support social tenants affected by welfare reforms has been cut by almost 20% for the coming year.
The Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) grant has been reduced from £182,516 to £149,334 for 2015/16. It can be topped up by councils from their own budgets but only within a fixed cap.
DHP is supposed to be used to mitigate the impact of the bedroom tax and other welfare reforms as well as to top up Local Housing Allowance for private tenants in high rent areas.
Councillor Price said: "The fact is that this year 84% of our DHP was used to support social tenants hit by the bedroom tax, many of them disabled. We also spent more than the grant we were given so used our own to top up funding. There has been no significant change in the housing market to allow more of those affected to downsize so cutting this fund just means our ability to help is put under strain."
Councillor Price added: "There is an almost constant flow of bad news or worse news coming from this government about housing. This week we heard the frankly bonkers idea from Iain Duncan Smith to give away social housing whilst his department also reduced the safety net for those it is trying to force out of their homes. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that this government is simply ideologically opposed to social housing."
Cambridge’s Labour City Council is spearheading the fight against poverty caused by the coalition government’s austerity through reforms to community grant funding. At a Community Services Scrutiny Committee meeting on 15 January, the Council is expected to approve £900,000 in community grant funding in advance of the Council’s budget for 2015-16. The funding is set to support groups whose proposed activities would reduce inequality in the city for residents with greatest need.
The grants will fund groups providing sporting, arts, cultural and community development activities, as well as legal advice and support. The grants will specifically support improving health and wellbeing, bringing communities together, improving job opportunities and creating a stronger voluntary sector in the city. Groups which stand to receive funding include The Junction, Cambridge Citizens' Advice Bureau, Cambridge Women's Resource Centre, Cambridge Disabled Kids Swimming Club, Cambridge and District Volunteer Centre, Cambridge Council for Voluntary Service, Cambridge Ethnic Community Forum, Cambridge Housing Society (CHS) Group, Centre 33, Encompass Network, Homestart Cambridgeshire Family Group, Richmond Fellowship and SexYOUality.
The Council has prioritised reducing poverty in response to cuts imposed on the Council’s national funding grant by the coalition government – cuts which have seen community grants funding reduced. After being elected in May 2014, Cambridge’s Labour City Council succeeded in reducing cuts proposed by the previous Liberal Democrat administration by 5% and introduced the new anti-poverty pledge. There will also be special transition fund to give one-off funding to some of those organisations facing a lower level of grant than they received in past years.
Labour’s Executive Councillor for Community, Arts and Recreation, Cllr Richard Johnson, said: “Labour’s plans put the City Council on the frontline against the vicious austerity of the Lib Dems and Tories in government which is hitting the poorest the hardest. We have reduced the cuts planned by the previous Lib Dem City Council and we are making anti-poverty initiatives the central priority in funding communities. The fact is that the Lib Dems cannot match our plans because they do not think poverty is a problem in a two-tier city Cambridge. Despite Lib Dem scaremongering that groups like the Citizens' Advice Bureau and Women's Resource Centre would see their funding reduced, such groups will keep their current funding levels.”
The newly-elected Labour City Council has announced the shocking results of its extensive financial review of the City’s books – the biggest review in 20 years. It has found that the outgoing Lib Dem administration stashed away as much as £12.1m of earmarked reserves in bank deposits earning negligible interest – funds that could have been put hard to work for the people of Cambridge to reduce the need for cuts and stabilise the council’s finances.
The Labour City Council has also found that the Lib Dems had placed large numbers of underdeveloped projects – worth up to £4m – on the council’s capital plan without detailed planning or business cases.
These half-baked projects overloaded the council’s capital improvement programme, causing administrative chaos and needlessly tying up huge sums for no purpose.
In total, Lib Dem financial mismanagement has been shown to have squandered over £1m each year in foregone income. Whereas interest on their uninvested balances garnered around £197,600 annually, these funds could have been invested to produce up to £1,027,400.
Labour’s budget proposals turn this neglect around by identifying unused reserves and capital funding for investments mostly in property. This will earn the council at least £650,000 per year from 2016/17. That figure could rise to over £1m per annum by 2017/18, reducing the need for cuts and protecting frontline services.
Labour will also send a lot of the ‘back of a fag packet’ Lib Dem capital projects back to the drawing board – giving the capital plan a breather so that projects can be delivered promptly. This will mean residents will actually see badly needed improvements to items like playgrounds, parks and sports facilities delivered rather than just talked about.
Labour’s Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources, Cllr George Owers, said: “It comes as no surprise to me that, after the Folk Festival and Icelandic Bank debacles, Lib Dem financial management has been found to be so incompetent. They have been caught asleep at the wheel, underusing millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money which could have been working hard for the city.
“They have also been shown to be disgracefully incompetent at managing capital projects, repeatedly overloading the capital plan and plucking imaginary numbers out of thin air to give a sheen of science to a series of opportunistic political guessing-games. Luckily, we are now correcting this legacy of neglect, but it illustrates how unprepared for power the Cambridge Lib Dems are. I believe that the people of Cambridge won’t give the keys of the car back to the party that crashed it, the Lib Dems, for a long while.”
The ruling Liberal Democrat Group on Cambridge City Council, which is finely balanced between Liberal Democrat and Labour control, had their plans for the City's Housing Budget for 2014/15 overturned on 16 January by the Council's Housing Management Board which is made up of councillors and tenant representatives. The Budget will now be sent to the Liberal Democrat Council Leader, Tim Bick, for a final decision on accepting it.
Councillor Kevin Price, Labour's Lead on Housing, said: "We were very pleasedthat our amended Budget went through on a majority vote. We have ensured that our tenants will get a fair deal and increased investment in external areas which have been sadly neglected for years. City Home tenants have seen their rent rise by over 24% in the last four years alone and face many other pressures on their income with high heating and food bills. Our proposals recognise this by reducing the proposed rent increase from the Liberal Democrats and looking for greater savings in management and other areas from 2015."
Cllr Price added: "Rather than force through their own Budget and higher rents, the Liberal Democrats and their Housing Executive Councillor, Catherine Smart, should reflect on the clear message that has been given. Tenants agree with Labour's view that there needs to be a rebalancing of the budget to give today's tenants a fair deal for every penny they pay us and not simply rehash the same tired old ideas from the Liberal Democrats each year. We will build for future tenants but not at the expense of our present tenants."
Councillor Kevin Price, a Councillor for Kings Hedges and Labour’s Lead on Housing at Cambridge City Council, has urged City-based social housing tenants affected by the government’s bedroom tax to check if they might be exempt after details emerged of a major blunder by the Department of Work and Pensions . The blunder means that thousands of tenants across the UK, and possibly dozens in Cambridge, have been wrongly identified as liable for the tax since April 2013.
Councillor Price said: “We have opposed this policy from the start as hitting tenants unfairly but now it is clear that some should never have been told they either had to pay up or move. The simple fact is that anyone of working age who has been in the same property since 1996 and receiving Housing BenefitRead more