The Conservative Council in North East Lincolnshire want to reduce the financial support for council tax from 75% to 50%. This will hit the poorest and most disadvantaged, including the disabled.
The Council argue that it has been done already in North Lincolnshire. However, this reasoning is flawed: North Lincolnshire is not a comparable authority, as there is more deprivation in North East Lincolnshire; and North Lincolnshire is one of the few authorities in the country to take this draconian approach - most authorities consider this a step too far. It would be fairer, and make more financial sense, for the council to improve the collection rates rather than punish the most disadvantaged. The council tax collection rates have fallen by nearly 10%.
The consultation is a sham; there is no option to object to the proposal. This measure, if passed, will increase strain on society in Grimsby and Cleethorpes.
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Recently the three Lib Dem Councillors for the East Marsh have been working with the new
Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator, Glyn Atkinson. Glyn is keen to see new Neighbourhood Watch Groups set-up in the East Marsh ward.
It is a well-known fact that in areas where Neighbourhood Watch Groups have been set up, there is a reduction in crime and people tend to feel much safer.
Councillor Terry Walker said: "Throughout North East Lincolnshire there are many Neighbourhood Watch Groups but on the East Marsh there are only a few. All three ward Councillors want to see our area become much safer - one way to achieve this is for all residents to work together and form a local group.
"One of the good things about setting up a Neighbourhood Watch is that you can receive assistance to attract funding for crime prevention measures, such as: alleyway gates and CCTV - all of which can help to prevent crime."
Councillor Steve Beasant said: "The police alone cannot resolve crime, they also need the help of the local community and one way of providing the police with that support is to set up a Neighbourhood Watch Group in your area. Your local Councillors and Glyn are here to help with the formation of Neighbourhood Watch groups and with your help we can make the East Marsh a better place to live."
Councillor Kay Rudd said: "Neighbourhood Watch Groups are not just about fighting crime; they are also an excellent way of socialising with your neighbours, many local groups in the area have days out.
"Local groups assist other community members and help bring about some civic pride - they play a valuable part in our local community."
For many years the East Marsh has been blighted by anti-social behaviour and local agencies have been slow to act upon residents' concerns. Just before the recent local elections - the Council doubled the size of ASB team. This means that there is now a named ASB coordinator (Tom Shaw) on the East Marsh.
Tom will be attending all meetings of East Marsh Involve and at a recent meeting he advised all residents that if you are suffering from any form of ASB, make sure that you report it through to your Ward Councillors.
Steve said: "Anti-social behaviour can blight people's lives, and no one should have to suffer this problem day in and day out - we want it to stop. That is why we pressed the Council to double the size of the ASB team.
"Both myself, Kay and Terry are working closely with Tom Shaw to overcome all of your problems - we want to make our area a better place to live. If problems persist we will call on the Council to take strong action and that could mean that we press for house closures."
Terry said: "As a ward councillor one of the biggest issues that I have to deal with is anti-social behaviour - residents have been suffering because of Government cutbacks. Hopefully, the Lib Dems pressure will result in better outcomes for people who are suffering from anti-social behaviour."
Kay said: "Unfortunately ASB is much higher on the East Marsh than any other ward, and because of this, I am pleased that the Lib Dems have secured new funding to double the size of the ASB team. A strong presence on the East Marsh will not resolve the issue, it needs to be backed up by action and that is why we are calling for house closures and other strong enforcement were necessary.
"Residents have had enough, and we are determined to make a huge difference. If you are suffering from ASB and want to report it, please come along to our Ward Surgery - every Saturday on Freeman Street Market (10am - 12noon)."
The Lib Dem campaign to tackle rogue landlords is bearing fruit. North East Lincolnshire Council is now conducting raids on illegal Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs).
Steve and Kay have been on a number of raids. Steve said: "One of the houses that were raided only had two bedrooms but there were eight mattresses in the house, and it is believed that at least 8 individuals were sleeping in the property. These rogue landlords exploit vulnerable people, forcing them to live in sometimes horrific conditions. We will not tolerate people being crammed into unsafe properties putting lives at risk."
In October last year the government passed a law requiring HMO landlords to register with the Council. Unregistered HMOs are breaking the law and could be exploiting their tenants.
Kay added: "As ward councillors, we often receive complaints about issues such as noise and anti-social behaviour. After some investigations, we tend to find that these relate to properties being used as illegal houses of multiple occupation (HMOs). A big issue with illegal HMOs is fire safety - these properties often fail to meet the basic fire safety standards. This means that they are putting adjacent houses at risk, as well as the lives of those who live there."
Steve continued: "The signs tend to be a property with lots of noise, antisocial behaviour and waste issues, and a lot of people coming and going from one property. I would urge residents to report any suspicions they might have to the Council's housing enforcement team (tel: 326296, option 1)."
The Liberal Democrats will continue to push for further action to tackle rogue landlords.
Prior to 2011, North East Lincolnshire had an effective noise service and anyone who created excessive noise had their music equipment removed by council officers. The service was the envy of every Council in the country.
Unfortunately, noise nuisance is now blighting our local communities due to the fact that in 2017 the Council noise reduction service was closed and replaced with the Enforcement and Compliance Team. Consequently, anti-social behaviour as gone through the roof.
Kay said: "One of the biggest issues that councillors have to deal with is, is noise nuisance and to put it simply, the Council is neglecting its duty and failing to act.
"Everyone should be entitled to a peaceful and quiet life and should not be blighted by noise. The Council should deal with it effectively and not expect residents to take out a private prosecution under section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. This is wrong; we need to see an effective noise abatement service across the borough and the Lib Dems are fighting to make sure that a decent service is returned to our area."
Steve said: "Residents are sick and fed up with the Council's inability to deal with the problem of noise. This issue is causing many residents to have sleepless nights and is affecting their health and well-being. Noise is blighting our communities and residents have had enough - it is time to return to the 'Sound of Silence'.
"In 2017, when I was on a committee looking into this issue, I was the only councillor on that committee who voted to retain the then effective noise reduction service - all of the Labour and Tory councillors on that committee voted to disband the service altogether."
Terry added: "Noise nuisance pollution is a form of antisocial behaviour and is having a huge impact on all of our community. It needs dealing with and the Council is failing to act."
Last year our first 'Skip It' event was held on Grant Thorold Park, with a further event being held at Elliott House just a few months ago - at both events tonnes of household waste were removed.
This popular event returned to Grant Thorold Park on Friday, 26th July and on this occasion almost 30 tonnes of waste was removed.
Kay Rudd said: "This event was a great opportunity to make the East Marsh a better place to live - and we was able to clear up a number of alleyways, as well as removing a huge amount of fly tipping. This was a great event and our local community rose to the challenge and helped to give the East Marsh a massive clean-up. On the day youngsters were seen pulling shopping trolleys, buggies, wheel barrows, wheelie bins and anything else they could find with wheels; taking their household waste to the 'Skip It' - it was truly a remarkable sight."
Steve Beasant said: "I am delighted 'Skip It' returned - it really showed how the community can come together. It is imperative that this event continues because it is now becoming harder for many residents to get rid of their household waste. We need to make it easier for local residents in to get rid of their household waste and end the blight of fly tipping."
Terry Walker added: "Once again the residents of the East Marsh have rallied around and they should be proud on what they have achieved - they removed 30 tonne from our area, and without their help much of this would have been destined for fly tipping."
The Liberal Democrats are a party on the up after the party thrashed Labour and the Tories at both the Local Elections and the EU elections.
Over the past month the Lib Dems have:
Cllr Steve Beasant said: "It's clear the Lib Dems are back. 11,000 people have joined in the past month, you can as well, please see the form overleaf.
"It is not just nationally that the Lib Dems are doing well - we are fighting back in North East Lincolnshire. And, we are aiming to do well in next year's local elections but we need your help. If you are interested in joining a winning team, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us on 01472 314183."
A petition with over 2,500 signatures to save the Community Learning Skills Hub on Freeman
Street was debated at a Special Council Meeting on Thursday, 4th July.
Community Learning currently offer courses for adults of all ages, including English, maths,
English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), creative arts, ICT and skills to enhance a person's employability, but now the service is threatened with closure. The closure was originally proposed by the previous Labour administration but at the recent Special Council
Meeting the decision was endorsed by the new Tory administration.
Following the meeting Kay, said: "Education is not about ticking boxes. If it's not broken, then don't fix it. People are happy and settled, so why try and move them away from something which is working?
"It is only just over 2 years ago that this service moved to the heart of the East Marsh, and while the Skill Hub has been on Freeman Street, it's helped hundreds of young adults - particularly people with learning difficulties and disabilities. Instead of thinking about profit and loss; we should be thinking about the vulnerable people in our community."
Steve said: "We are only a couple of months since the Tories took control of North East Lincolnshire Council, and they promised to listen to the public. Labour's decision was wreckless, the Tories had a chance to listen; instead they have buried their heads in the sand."
Terry added: "This is one the worst decisions made by local Council in recent years - the Tories should have reconsidered the Labour proposal to close the Skills Hub. It is pure madness and many people in our area will suffer."