Are Labour candidates allowed their own thoughts?

By | April 7, 2022

Leaflets from the Labour Party in the local elections prove that their candidates aren’t allowed to have a thought of their own. Why does this matter? Well, how can Labour candidates represent the people they are elected by in Eltham if they are only allowed to trot out the party line? 

Some residents in the south of the Royal Borough of Greenwich may have received a leaflet from the Labour Party – although as we know their communications are only delivered prior to elections with no serious attempt to keep in touch outside of the time that votes need to be cast. However, this time round they also reveal that Labour Council candidates are being kept on a very tight leash with the party controlling what they say in identikit quotes.

It appears that the Labour candidates in Eltham Park & Progress and Mottingham, Coldharbour and New Eltham have identical thoughts about Council Tax:

I believe that one of the core issues for the local election is that residents should have their views about where they live represented at Council level. There is no point in voting Labour if their candidates only do as their party tells them, to the point of not being able to freely express how they feel about ward specific issues – even in literature that is asking for residents to vote for them.

Is the quote even accurate?

A linked issue is whether the quote which reflects the thought of all Labour candidates is actually true – unfortunately the answer is that it is deeply misleading.

According to the Council’s own figures, Government funding for Greenwich Council rose from £131m to £146m from 2021 to 2022 (an 11.5% increase).  You can see these figures on the Council website. So any claim of £150m in cuts would have to be justified and, if accurate, it would be because it is historic as funding has actually risen this year.

The comparison with Bexley Council is superficially accurate with their Band D Council Tax at £1,483.06 and Greenwich’s being set at £1,276.34 – so it is about £200 more. However, the amount the Government gives Greenwich Labour Council is three times as much as Bexley Council receives (£40m). This difference is because Greenwich (and Lewisham and Southwark) are classified as Inner London Boroughs while Bexley is an Outer London Borough.

So Conservatives in Bexley seem to be doing remarkably well with a fraction of the funding Greenwich’s Labour run administration receives which is something I doubt Labour Councillors will be commenting on as part of their group think.

These figures are for 2021/22 and can be found here.

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