Conservatives abandon the Elderly and Vulnerable
The Northampton Labour Group proposed an increase in funding to provided funding for three PCSO’s, two Neighbourhood Wardens and to make the part-time Park Rangers full-time at last Monday night’s Borough Council which not unexpectedly were voted against by the Northampton Conservatives who instead, as is now customary of addressing the serious issues facing Northampton chose to enter into childish tantrums and playground antics.
The hypocrisy of the Borough Conservatives who only last week shouted from the housetops how committed they were to community safety when they voted to reverse last year’s decision to cut funding for what they called their “Conservative Police Crime Commissioner” was only to clear to see when on Monday night they said that they had no responsibility for policing and community safety.
Regular readers of this blog and those who have followed my public statements will know that I have consistently argued that in a time of recession when we know that crime increases we should be increasing community safety, not cutting it.
Labour also warned last year that cuts in community safety budgets by the Northampton Conservatives on top of the massive cuts in police by the Conservative – Lib Dem coalition Government along with the Conservatives decision to switch off half of the towns streetlights would lead to an increase in crime.
The Leader of the Borough Council who as the County Council Cabinet member who was responsible for cutting £500,000 for PCSO’s and who supported and defended the Counties decision to switch streetlights off claimed that Labour were talking nonsense and scaremongering.
The facts of course speak for themselves and across Northampton from May to November last year after the Conservative cuts had been made all types of crime has increased in all areas.
The Northampton Conservatives answer at the budget meeting was to again dismiss any connection between cutting police, PCSO’s and plunging our streets into darkness by saying “It is not our fault, it’s the recession”?
Perhaps if the Conservative Leader of the Borough Council lived as I and the majority of people in Northampton do with their homes accessible from the highways and footpaths instead as he does in a gated area behind an electrically controlled security gate he might think differently.
Though I doubt it.
What was even more disturbing was their reaction to the Labour proposals to invest £250,000 to provide additional security including intercom systems and external lighting for the elderly and vulnerable in the Councils Sheltered Housing.
I’m sure that I speak for all decent people when I say that the pictures in the local newspapers of elderly residents who had been attacked in their own homes left me not only upset but actually furious.
If we aren’t prepared to protect the elderly and vulnerable from violent attacks what kind of town and society do we want?
Or have the Conservatives just given up?
The Northampton Conservatives reason for voting against the proposals, and we should remember this is the party who are spending £2 million of council tenant’s rents in trying to persuade them to change their landlord, was that they are carrying out a Sheltered Housing Review.
It beggars belief that they are putting a review of sheltered housing in front of the safety of the residents when whatever the review says they will still be tenants?
So let’s be very clear, if and I truly hope that it doesn’t happen again, an elderly residents in the Northampton Borough Council Sheltered Housing is attacked in their homes in the future and their aren’t safety and security devices installed the fault will lie firmly on the doorstep of the Northampton Conservatives who on Monday 25th February 2013 voted against it.
It will of course be the perpetrator of the crime who will, when caught be prosecuted and sentenced by the courts, but it will be those who failed their tenants who will also be held accountable by the victim and their families and friends.
The one positive thing from the meeting was that there can be no pretence in future of the Conservatives claiming to be the party of law and order.
Their actions, decisions and record in abandoning Northampton to those who would do us harm speaks for itself, and is nothing more than an utter abdication of their responsibility to protect the elderly and vulnerable people of Northampton.
It is a ‘political neglect’ that if carried out by professional employees responsible for community safety would lead to disciplinary action, sackings and/or resignations.
To say their commitment to protecting the elderly and vulnerable from crime and the impact of crime as being inadequate is being too polite.
Northampton Labour Group
Labour’s Budget Proposals 2013
Northampton Labour today has published their alternative to the Tory budget for Northampton Borough Council. Labour believes the Tory budget is yet again a missed opportunity.
Labour Councillors are really committed to do everything they can to protect and enhance frontline services. In our alternative yet again we are delivering on the theme of ‘community safety.’ Labour’s alternative includes,
1. Funding for three Police Community Support Officers.
2. Two Additional Neighbourhood Wardens.
3. Investment in Community Payback Public Safety Team.
4. Security intercom systems for vulnerable residents in Sheltered Housing.
These are four practical proposals contained within Labour’s alternative to the Tory budget. If the Tories vote against these modest suggestions they will be shunning their public safety responsibilities.
Cllr David Palethorpe, Labour’s finance spokesperson, says
“Last year we delivered an alternative budget which the Tories voted down. However, during the course of the year they then went onto implement our proposals. It will be interesting to see therefore whether they do the same this year.
Our alternative is about putting community safety higher up the list of Council priorities. In talking and listening to residents it is clear anti-social behaviour and crime is a major concern and that it is Labour who is in tune with the residents.
We believe the Conservatives have again demonstrated that they are out of touch producing a budget that doesn’t deliver on key priorities, including community safety.”