Our West Lancashire councillor Adrian Owens has branded the local Labour council group ‘out of touch’ after they failed to support a council motion to ask the Government to give councils the power to levy business rates on student landlords. The local Labour Council Group ignored the petition of more than 600 local people calling for student landlords to contribute financially to local services
Cllr Owens said “Labour showed themselves out of touch with the concerns of local residents about the unfairness of the current situation where the business model of student landlords draws significantly on local services and yet nothing is paid by landlords towards providing those same local services. Borough and county councils and the local police and fire services face a looming £1.3 million funding shortfall as a result.
Liverpool has a large number of student houses and suffers a large financial shortfall. Labour councillors there raised a similar motion and it was passed unanimously. It’s a matter of conjecture as to why their Labour colleagues in West Lancashire are so out of tune with local residents.
Equally poor were the actions of the Conservatives in walking out of the council meeting half-way through. They left the field of play not only for this motion but for others on Ormskirk’s recent night markets and on the injustices caused to women in their late 50’s and 60’s arising from the equalisation of the state pension age. All these were important matters and yet the so-called ‘main opposition’ had gone home. Residents who voted Conservative deserved better. Independent councillors from Our West Lancashire remained to scrutinise and challenge the ruling Labour group instead”.
Perhaps Labour is waiting for proposals for a Land Value Tax (LVT) as a possible replacement for council tax and business rates, as the party’s manifesto says. They are recommended by many economists because they are considered to be economically efficient. Meanwhile WLBC residents face that loss of income and services will worsen.