The challenge we face
Responding to multiple crisis:
- COVID-19 and the Conservative’s cost of living and social care crises continue to present the country with its biggest challenges for generations.
- Locally, Labour is leading the way in working with public sector partners and communities to help people navigate new uncertainties.
- Leading the Council, we have ensured that financial support is distributed to communities and businesses, we have supported people who were shielding or are facing financial hardship, we have protected residents in care homes, kept vital services running and played an important role in the coordination of community and voluntary action.
Local financial pressures:
- The graph below illustrates the overall funding gap that the Council has had to bridge since 2015.
- As a result of austerity and the poor economic policies of a decade of Conservative governments, more and more people are needing help, which is pushing costs up, whilst at the same time, the funding from government continues to decline.
- More recently, rising inflation is driving costs up further and this is forcing the council to take radical action to plug new funding gaps.
- The graph also shows that the increasing costs as a result of increased demand for services cannot be met, despite local Council Tax increases.
The national economic context:
- The economic, social and financial consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent decisions of the Conservative government are self-evident. Combined with a decade of cuts to public services, the result has been devastating for our country.
- During the pandemic the borough experienced a doubling of unemployment and a surge in businesses needing support. The more recent economic circumstances might mean that the level of new redundancies could be high.
- Our declaration of a local poverty emergency in October 2020 highlighted the impact of long-term poverty on Cheshire West residents and recognised that those with the lowest incomes have been disproportionately impacted by economic uncertainty.
- Increasingly, more households are being pushed into financial hardship.
- There has been a significant increase in the number of people approaching local homeless services for help.
- More specialist support has been developed to help keep vulnerable children safe and well.
- The impact on mental wellbeing for children and adults has been a major concern.
- A decade of austerity, followed by a global pandemic, a cost-of-living crisis and a crisis in social care has decimated public sector budgets. This means the costs of meeting the challenges for the NHS, police, councils and other services has exceeded the financial support received from the Conservative Government in Westminster.
Building new relationships and working together:
- Communities supporting each other is part of the Labour tradition and we have worked hard to support and maintain new networks that were created during the pandemic.
- Labour councillors and Labour Members of Parliament have been at the heart of their communities, supporting the most vulnerable through successive lockdowns and now new economic uncertainty.
- Relationships with voluntary organisations, the Council and MP’s offices have been strengthened in the face of adversity.
- Working with schools to maintain education provision and providing IT equipment where it is needed has stopped some children from falling behind with their work.
- Working with care providers to protect elderly residents and support adults with severe disabilities has helped vulnerable people to stay safe.
- Relationships between a broad range of public organisations have strengthened too, with joined up care and a more coordinated approach to supporting people with complex needs.
- Relationships with businesses have also grown stronger and it’s clear that the economy will need support to recover.
Labour’s plan for HOPE: Our priorities are your priorities:
Through listening to residents, business, and community organisations, we have developed four clear priorities for our Borough. Your priorities are our priorities, and we will deliver our plan for HOPE through Labour’s leadership of Cheshire West and Chester Council, and in partnership with Labour Members of Parliament in Chester, Ellesmere Port & Neston and Weaver Vale. These priorities include:
- Putting local families first:
- Supporting children and young people to have the best start in life
- Enabling more adults to live longer, happier and healthier lives
- Having a job you enjoy and feeling financially secure:
- Building an economy that works for everyone by delivering good jobs with fair wages for residents
- Creating a fairer future by tackling the poverty emergency
- Being proud of where you live and feeling involved in what’s going on:
- Re-modelling town centres and supporting local high streets so they are places where local residents are proud to be and places people want to live, work, learn and visit
- Making our neighbourhoods even better places to call home
- Looking out for each other
- Growing a greener future by tackling the climate emergency
- Supporting good mental health