Priority One: Build Back Fairer – Level up Tunbridge Wells Post-COVID

Tunbridge Wells is a very unequal place – and the Covid19 pandemic has made it worse. The Council needs a plan to rebuild post-COVID. It must support the residents and businesses most affected by the pandemic. Labour will fight for a fairer Tunbridge Wells, backing business growth and job creation, addressing the roots of poverty, low pay and cost of living crisis. We will work with partners in the voluntary, community and faith sectors to create a stronger and more cohesive Borough.

Nationally, the Labour Party is committed to the abolition of business rates and their replacement with a fairer alternative. The Federation of Small Businesses backs us saying that ‘This is what a pro-small business tax policy looks like.’

The CBI (Confederation of British Industry) also agrees saying that Labour is ‘putting forward a pro-growth, pro-investment package of reforms that will reflect our green ambitions, spur the economic recovery, and help level up our regions.’

Levelling up ‘left behind’ regions of the UK is laudable but it should not be at the expense of our ability to address the very real challenges that exist for so many of our residents in Tunbridge Wells. Within an affluent Borough like ours we have many communities who need to be given the same opportunities and chance to thrive as everyone else.

To level up the Borough we need an end to cuts in local authority funding, which pays for our vital public services, and a Labour government which will give our councils the chance to address the critical challenges faced in our communities.

Labour Councillors will:

  1. Support local businesses, job creation, the provision of jobs at or above the local living wage and apprenticeships for our young people.
  2. Protect grants to voluntary and community sector organisations and target extra funding to organisations providing community services to residents.
  3. Promote in-sourcing as the default model of providing council services – resolving the problems with the current waste disposal contract.
  4. End zero hour contracts and other forms of insecure employment, and encourage the adoption of the real local living wage by the Council and its contractors.
  5. Help end local food insecurity by supporting our local Food Banks and Larders to enable residents to access good quality and affordable food.
  6. Focus help and support on the children and families growing up in poverty in the Borough.
  7. Improve accessibility of buildings and access to services for residents with physical and mental disabilities.
  8. Work towards restoring 100% Council Tax Support to our lowest income residents, starting by reducing the minimum contribution from 20% to 15% in 2023/24.