After all we have been through in this pandemic it isn’t enough just to go back to normal. We have been through too much frustration and hardship just to settle for the status quo – to think that life can go on as it was before the coronavirus.
Harlow must have a council that will use this moment to build back better - and that is exactly what the Conservatives are offering. So far, the Conservatives in Harlow have fought hard to secure a financial package worth well over £160 million for our town. Yet this week we have learnt that the bumbling Labour administration at the town hall has failed to hand over much needed government grants to hundreds of struggling local businesses; they have sat on this for almost two months.
So how can we Build Back Better?
First, that means strengthening our NHS. In the last year alone, work on our new hospital has begun, 170 more nurses and 53 more doctors have joined the brilliant PAH workforce and PAH has seen £2.4 million of urgent upgrades. Hundreds of millions of pounds of investment into the NHS in Harlow thanks in no small part to the continuing efforts of our MP, Robert Halfon.
Second, we must keep council tax low. The current Labour Council has hiked council tax for the last eight years in a row, whilst simultaneously wasting millions of taxpayers hard-earned money. Year on Year, I have shown how we can keep council tax low whilst maintaining much loved services and amenities such as Pets Corner, our local paddling pools and parks.
Third, we will build an even better Harlow with a £75 million regeneration package - restoring pride into our town centre and hatches. This is in absolute contrast with the current Labour council who have just lost £10.4 million earmarked for redevelopment of the town and have made absolutely no progress on regenerating Harlow.
Fourth, we will make our streets safer than before. As part of the Government’s recruitment of an extra 20,000 police officers we will put more bobbies on the beat - with the powers to do their job. We will also crack down on anti-social behaviour by investing in our excellent community safety team.
Fifth, Conservatives will invest in our schools and apprenticeships to ensure every young person in Harlow has the chance of a superb education. That means multi-million building upgrades at 7 Harlow schools, per-pupil funding rising, thousands of new apprenticeships and £3 million to bolster Harlow College.
The choice could not be starker: more of the same council chaos, with council tax rises, money wasted, bungled bin collection contracts, governments grants not passed on to hard-pressed businesses and no progress with Labour or a competent, forward thinking Conservative administration who really will build back better and bring a brighter future to our town.
Cllr Russell Perrin
Councillor for Sumners & Kingsmoor Ward
Shadow Portfolio Holder for Resources