I would like to start saying Merry Christmas and Happy New Year ion behalf of the Labour Group of Swale Councillors. However, we know 2013 has been a tough year for many people.
Lots of families are struggling to cope with rising bills. Some are even being forced to choose between putting food on the table and turning on the heating. The Steel Mill still hasn’t reopened on Sheppey. Employment may be up but jobs are often part-time and insecure.
The Coalition Government’s welfare cuts have hit the most vulnerable hardest and many people are rightly angry when they see bankers and the rich getting out of paying their fair share of tax.
At the same time as the Government is placing huge pressure on the Council to allow more development, the rising cost of housing and the lack of affordable homes has become a big issue. There are now more families than ever in bed & breakfast and the Council is struggling to cope.
Health remains our greatest concern. For the first time in years people are lying on trolleys for hours waiting to be seen in our A&Es at Medway and Canterbury. We have begun to see what happens when the health bureaucrats get their hands on our services: They want to close them. We’ve seen this in Faversham with the Minor Injuries Unit.
In 2014, we will fight tooth and nail to retain vital local health services, push the Council to deliver on its promises of a new town centre in Sittingbourne, and we will fight for decent homes for all in the borough.
Cllr Mike Haywood
Leader of the Labour Group of Councillors
Swale Borough Council