Labour Budget Will Hit Freemantle Ward Hard

As a local councillor representing the Freemantle Ward I was extremely disappointed and angered to read the budget plans of the new Labour Administration. Many of the cuts and hikes in charges will disproportionately hit those that I am elected to represent.

Labour came into office full of promises and as predicted, one by one they are breaking them. They immediately u-turned on their pledge to keep Oaklands Pool open. They promised to invest more in SureStart and they are cutting £1m a year from this service. They promised to spend more on libraries, yet they are slashing opening hours, bringing local libraries to the verge of closure. Shirley Library is having its hours cut by 15 hours a week. Pensioners are having their council tax raised by 12%, despite a last minute pre election promise by Cllr Richard Williams not to do this. Even the weekly bin collection was due to be axed and it was only spared because of a grant from the Government.

A 35% reduction in street cleaning in local roads will mean lots of more litter. Local residents associations are fighting an ongoing battle to keep the area clean, with regular litter picks and this will come as a real slap in the face to many people. I am very worried about the cuts to the upkeep of local parks. We already have problems with drinking in Lake Park and cans and glass left behind as well as the ongoing problem of dog fouling. We have more and more young families in Freemantle and keeping the local parks clean, tidy and safe is essential.

Parking is one of the biggest problems faced by residents in Freemantle Ward. I have fought for a long time to stop new charges coming in for first permits in residents’ parking zones. Labour tried to bring in charges last time they were in power and now they are back they are quick to charge residents to park. Worse still this doesn’t even guarantee residents a space in their road. Residents’ Parking enforcement stops at 6pm so many residents will end up paying for permits and much of the time they will be worthless. Labour plans to introduce on street parking charges in the evenings in the city centre will mean more workers parking their cars in local roads after 6pm, making it even harder for residents to park. Also charging people to park when they are shopping in Shirley will hit local businesses hard, damaging trade and costing jobs, at a time when everyone is struggling.

Labour have not thought through their proposals. They were elected with no plan and no vision for the city and now residents are suffering the consequences.
This post was written by
Jeremy fought the Test seat at the 2010 and 2015 General Elections. Jeremy grew up locally and went to school in Highfield and Shirley and attended Richard Taunton’s college. He served as a Southampton City Councillor between 2002 and 2018. Jeremy works as a Pensions Manager for FTSE 100 company, Friends Life.

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