Friday, 15 April 2016

“CONSERVATIVES IN DANGER OF TURNING A CRISIS INTO CATASTROPHE” – Grant Davey, Council and Labour group leader

1 in 4 workers in Northumberland face an impossible struggle to get on the housing ladder according to figures used by Northumberland Conservatives

Labour group leader Grant Davey today branded comments made by Conservative leader Peter Jackson as ‘illuminating and damning’ as he highlighted moves by Cllr Jackson’s government to ‘choke off economic growth in Northumberland’ as homeless charity Shelter, highlighted that families in Northumberland would need to have an income of at least £44,000 per annum to get on the housing ladder. 
On Wednesday (13 April) in the Council chamber at County Hall in Northumberland, in a response to a question (number 3) from Councillor Peter Jackson the leader of Northumberland Conservatives to Council Leader Labour's Grant Davey, rounded on Cllr Jackson and Northumberland Conservatives for ‘voting against the council budget that introduced the Northumberland Living wage in Oct 2015’ and trying to ‘block jobs and economic growth in Northumberland especially through opposition to the transfer of jobs and services from County Hall back to the county market town’s as part of the Labour administrations Market Towns Initiative’.  
In a linked news report from Shelter the homeless charity said that to buy a home in Northumberland you would need to have an income of £44,000.
On the news from Shelter about housing costs Grant Davey said
" If Northumberland Conservatives figures are to be believed it’s a damning indictment on employers in Northumberland that one in four workers over 25 only receive a level of pay that’s less than £14,000 for their full time employment and that they have no hope according to Shelter to ever get onto the Housing Ladder. With this Conservative Government stopping our Council House and Social Housing building programs and deciding to force Housing Associations to become private Landlords at least a quarter of Northumberland working families are destined never to own a home, have difficulty accessing a social let property and be exposed to a growing private let market. This isn't just extending Northumberland's Housing Crisis the Tories are creating a Housing Catastrophe. Cllr Jackson is happy to back his government as they slash grants to Northumberland residents over the next 3 years. He’s silent as his government hammer residents in rural Northumberland valuing them at only £6.85 per head compared with urban North Tyneside whose residents will still receive a massive £66.82 per head by 2019. He needs to stop ‘spinning for Cameron and start standing up for Northumberland’”.


Notes for editors
Cllr Jackson question at Full Council to Grant Davey
 "Northumberland Conservatives have long been supporters of the Living Wage as a means of reducing income equality and promoting social justice. In fact we were the first group in the County to propose that this Council pays the living wage as an example to the rest of the County. So will the Leader join with us in welcoming the introduction by Government of the national living wage? Will the Leader also welcome the news that the living wage will benefit 1 in 4 workers in Northumberland and agree with Torsten bell of the Resolution Foundation that the National Living Wage will transform the low pay landsape in Northumberland with Northumberland being the lost affected area”.
Grant Davey's response was that

"The Labour Administration introduced its own Living Wage, the Northumberland Living Wage on 1st October 2016. The rate for the Northumberland Living Wage is £7:85 which is 9% higher than the Governments new so called Living Wage set at £7:20 which is actually the New Minimum Wage for over 25 yr olds and that Northumberland Conservatives voted against the budget last month that included the review of the Northumberland Living Wage in October 2016 when it is hoped to raise the rate of our 1,400 staff who currently are currently paid the higher Northumberland rate over and above the National Living Wage".

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