The Liberal Democrat Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor has warned of growing pressure on Watford to build more homes after the Housing Minister said he was ‘putting big pressure on local authorities’ that miss their housing targets. Kit Malthouse MP, the Conservative Housing Minister, said in an interview that ‘councils have to hit a percentage of the forecast housing in their plan, and if they don't we essentially take it [planning decisions] out of their hands’.
This is on top of Watford’s housing numbers being tripled by the government and the previous Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government saying he was ‘breathing down the neck’ of local councils to build more homes.
The Mayor of London has rejected a Liberal Democrat petition which had been signed by over 6000 Watford residents calling on TfL to consider rezoning Watford stations into Zone 6.
At the moment, commuters in Watford pay a £1000 a year premium on fares into central London compared to commuters living in Epping in Essex, which is a similar distance into central London.
Residents in Meriden and North Watford have received good news following a Liberal Democrat campaign to save a well used bus route that was being cut by Arriva.
The Watford Liberal Democrats stormed to victory in recent local and Mayoral elections, with Peter Taylor being elected Mayor with nearly 50% of the first preference vote.
Liberal Democrat Mayoral candidate Peter Taylor, Mayor Dorothy Thornhill and the Watford Liberal Democrats launched their manifesto today, promising to maintain a thriving local economy, provide high quality council services and protect the most vulnerable in the town.
Liberal Democrat Mayoral Candidate Cllr Peter Taylor has called for children to remain receiving free school means so that they can “achieve their potential”.
Families on Universal Credit - a single monthly payment for people out of work or on low income – can currently claim a free lunch.
However, last week the House of Commons voted to reduce eligibility for children in Year Three and above if their parents earn more than £7,400 from April 1.
Cllr Peter Taylor, who is also the Liberal Democrat Candidate in the mayoral elections, believes this will “penalise” hardworking parents.
Peter said, 'As a former teacher, and a parent to three young children, I am particularly proud of the work that Liberal Democrats did in the coalition to introduce free school meals for infants. All the evidence suggests that children learn better if they have a healthy lunch.
"We must make sure that work always pays. Cutting free school meals once a parents is earning over a certain threshold will penalise parents who are working hard to provide for their children.
“That's why I back the Liberal Democrat policy of providing free school meals to all children in primary education. That way, no child will miss out on a healthy lunch. I want every child to achieve their potential. There is no doubt that providing free lunches for all primary school children would help with this.'
Cllr Peter Taylor, Liberal Democrat Mayoral Candidate, has pledged to keep council tax down if he was elected the next Mayor of Watford.
Liberal Democrat Mayoral Candidate Peter Taylor said, ‘It’s no secret that every council in the country is having their budget slashed by the Conservative government at the moment and Watford is no exception to that.
‘However, thanks to our careful planning over a number of years, I am delighted that I can pledge that any future rises in council tax will be below inflation. That means that we can provide good parks, clean streets and free events across the town and make sure that residents get good value for money. We must avoid the painful cuts we are seeing in other parts of the country. A Liberal Democrat run council will prioritise providing excellent services for everyone and keeping council tax under control.'
Dorothy Thornhill, Liberal Democrat Elected Mayor of Watford said, ‘When I was elected Mayor sixteen years ago, I inherited a Labour run council that was in such a bad financial state that council tax was sky high and the accounts was so poor that they hadn’t been signed off for years. I’ve worked my socks off to get to the council to the position where we’re in now where we’ve kept council tax low and delivered great services.
‘What’s worrying is that we now have a Labour candidate who was in a senior position in that failing council. He’s already making pledges about bringing services in house that could cost the council tens of millions without saying where the money would come from. Only the Lib Dems have proved that year after year they will keep council tax rises low and manage your money well.'
The Green Party's 2017 Parliamentary candidate for Watford has joined the Liberal Democrats.
In a boost to the Liberal Democrats in advance of the local and mayoral
elections in May, Alex Murray has been welcomed by Liberal Democrat Deputy
Leader, Jo Swinson MP, when she visited Watford to support Peter
Taylor's mayoral campaign.