A Labour Council will:
Protect your vital services despite receiving zero core grant from Government by transforming how your council operates, assisted by its dedicated staff.
Protecting Services Despite Government Cuts
Since coming into office in 2014, Labour has protected the quality services Cambridge residents rely on, despite the loss of all of the core Government grant the council received to assist with providing these services. Only five years ago we received £5.6 million in grant. The Conservatives, and the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition before them, have incrementally cut the council’s core funding since 2010, money which previously made up over half of its net budget.
To prevent them damaging local services, we have found new ways to generate income to assist with offsetting these cuts by releasing over £40 million in previously idle and unused bank balances, making strategic investments in commercial property and housing to make a return that is above available interest rates. This increased income works out to over £2 million a year which supports essential services, as well as raising ongoing income to continue supporting those services in future years. We will explore additional investment opportunities for the further generation of income following completion of a comprehensive review of the council’s assets.
Investing in our City’s Future
Investment in capital adds value to our city and benefits our residents. As well as generating income for the council, our £6 million investment in Lion Yard will help improve that shopping centre, and our proposed investment in a new community centre at the Meadows in King’s Hedges ward will not only provide enhanced facilities but will release land for up to 100 badly needed new council homes. We will take forward proposals to redevelop and regenerate the Park Street Car Park site, and review our other older car parks and major council assets.
A Labour council will provide services in an increasingly efficient way to maximise the value of taxpayers’ money. We have created a new depot site for our cleaning and maintenance teams at land the council already owned at Cowley Road, freeing up the previous depot at the Mill Road for new council and market housing. We will invest in facilities at the city crematorium and cemetery to ensure the council’s bereavement services are efficiently-run but, most importantly, continue to improve the service and focus on the needs of the bereaved.
Sharing Services and Working Smarter
We have successfully established shared waste and internal audit services with South Cambridgeshire, and information technology, building control and legal services with South Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire councils. We will proceed with a new shared planning service with South Cambridgeshire, which will assist with the delivery of the joint Local Plan with that authority.
In addition, we will proceed with our planned £2 million investment in IT software and associated digital infrastructure to improve customer response and service accessibility, reliability and efficiency for residents and council staff alike.
Our Continued Commitment to Cultural Services
Given the problems at the Cambridge Live charitable trust, we acted decisively to return its services back in-house, saving jobs. We will undertake an independent review so the Council can learn from what happened. We will continue work by Cambridge Live before it came back into the Council, including delivering the Corn Exchange event programme, the internationally-regarded Cambridge Folk Festival, and the highly popular Big Weekend and other open space events this summer.
Making Devolution Work for Cambridge
We will work with the Combined Authority Mayor and neighbouring authorities, particularly South Cambridgeshire, to deliver maximum benefit for our city, achieving progress in the devolution deal areas of affordable housing, transport infrastructure and skills. We will continue to lobby Government for the devolution of business rates so investment in these areas be brought forward. To enable adequate delivery to occur, however, the CA and Mayor need to work constructively with us and partners and operate transparently. We will continue to use our representation on Combined Authority bodies to ensure proper scrutiny of decisions made or proposed to be made by the Mayor, and to achieve real benefits for Cambridge.
Standing Up for Cambridge
Labour councillors will continue to exert their influence and stand up for Cambridge by campaigning with Daniel Zeichner MP, and other local figures, in making the case for the UK to remain in the EU, supporting a ‘final say’ on both any Brexit deal and the option of staying in, and protecting the rights of our citizens born abroad.
We will speak out on other issues that matter to residents like stopping the closure of the central Post Office at St Andrews Street, retaining effective County Council services in Cambridge despite their move to distant Alconbury, keeping the historic Castle Mound in public ownership, and ensuring there remains an effective police station in the city centre given the ill-advised decision for the main Parkside Police Station functions to be moved out of Cambridge.
Last year, our joint lobbying efforts persuaded the Government to keep open the Magistrates’ Court so local people can continue to have ready access to legal services and the judicial system. We will continue to make the case for Cambridge, whoever is in Government, to protect our city, our services and our residents, particularly people who need our support the most.