Tackling the Cost of Living
A Labour Council will do what it can to make your life easier in tough times. We will also work with any Labour Government elected in 2015 which can do so much more to tackle the cost of living crisis
1. Establish a Sutton Fairness Commission to recommend steps on how to improve the quality of life across the borough by making it a fairer place for all who live and work here. It will influence and inform the council on how it makes decisions on allocating resources.
2. Ensure that Council Tax to pay for service improvements should be raised no more than inflation in any given year for the next four years, so residents know what to budget for.
3. Set up a "Waste Watch" unit (one off funding cost as future funding will be subject to making savings) to examine complaints of waste from the public and Councillors. Develop Zero based budgeting to review services in line with fairness objectives.
4. Review staff accommodation with a view to moving non-frontline staff to the Civic Offices Complex. This is not the time for capital investment as in the Sutton Plan Buildings that are surplus to requirements will be considered for community use prior to any other decision being made about them.
5. Review Budget Consultation procedures and develop "Participatory Budgeting" that involves many more residents in the budget process.
6. Encourage existing service providers to mutualise and develop the co-operative sector in Sutton. We will consider a stakeholder co-operative model when looking for external capital finance and when tendering or re-tendering for services.
7. Develop procurement strategies that make a direct link between the Community Plan and other strategic objectives and contract specifications ensuring that community benefits can be fully integrated into the procurement process and that ‘Social Value’ is fully considered
8. Develop ethical "Fair Wages" and "Fair Employment" clauses in all external contracts that employ staff, so we have the best staff at all levels. Ensure minimum payments are at “London Living Wage” level. We will work to encourage all local employers to move to this too. We will further review any extreme pay differentials in conjunction with staff trade union representatives.
9. Support Trade Justice by encouraging ethical purchasing policies.
10. Tell you straight that the fact Sutton needs a food bank is a disgrace. We will look at what discretionary support a rich borough like Sutton can provide. We will tackle debt and reduce the need for payday loan companies:
• We will support Sutton’s Credit Union as a people’s bank and a financial co-operative
• Support other local authorities that are demanding new powers from government to curb high-stakes gambling machines in betting shops. They are capable of taking bets of £300 a minute and contribute to debt
• We will provide a welfare benefits hotline
• We will strengthen advice services
• Develop an anti-poverty and social exclusion strategy as part of our overall fairness strategy aimed at areas, not individuals, and which improves access to services.
• We will review welfare provision in the borough.
11. Initiate collective energy purchasing with a ‘Switched on Sutton’ scheme giving residents access to more competitive energy prices, at a time when the government is not doing enough and only acts when Labour proposes a freeze.