10 May 2016

Maidstone Green have hit out at the hypocrisy of the local Lib Dems in agreeing to fund the continued paving in the town centre just a few years after they roundly criticised the Tories for doing the same. They have also highlighted the severe needs that the £3.1m could start to address such as the 10 fold increase in homelessness locally since 2010 or the air pollution that is killing 130 people each year in the borough.

Stuart Jeffery, Coordinator of Maidstone Green Party: "The Lib Dems have made a very poor decision to continue spending scarce resources on paving more of the town centre. This poor decision is on top of the hypocrisy which saw the Lib Dems harshly criticise the Tories for doing exactly the same when they ran the council just a few years ago. Worse still, at the time the Lib Dems were criticising the Tory plans they stated that this was a lost opportunity to tackle key issues in the Borough including air pollution. Maidstone's Lib Dem run council is now making the same poor choice that their predecessors made.

"The Lib Dems cite a potential for 1% more sales in the town centre as a reason for paving Week St and Gabriels Hill. Meanwhile 130 people are dying each year in Maidstone because of air pollution caused by traffic which will increase under Lib Dem economic, housing and transport plans.

"If they wanted an immediate benefit to the town they could have spent the money on building some truly affordable homes close to the town centre. Homelessness has risen ten fold in the past five years yet new house building is focused on large, unaffordable properties unsuitable for people in real need."

Notes:

There were 60 homelessness 'decisions' in 2010/11 http://www.maidstone.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/9518/Homelessness-Strategy-2014-2019-Sept-2014.pdf

From Q1 to Q3 2015/16 there were 455 homelessness 'decisions' https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-homelessness#detailed-local-authority-level-responses suggesting a full year forecast of 607, a ten fold increase in five years.