Introduction: Cllr Alan Waters
Our manifesto is a recovery plan for the city. Norwich was one of the first councils in the UK to publish a comprehensive COVID-19 recovery plan in June 2020.
Its ambition reflects a public sentiment that people do not want to return to the pre-Pandemic economic model. The experience of COVID over the last two years has magnified inequalities and insecurities in terms of work, incomes, housing, health, and poverty. Building on our work as a Labour administration, these are the issues we are committed to tackling.
Under Boris Johnson austerity continues. Combined with economic mismanagement, many people across Norwich are already experiencing a cost-of-living crisis. The Tory Government’s decision to underfund the vital local services we all need puts serious pressure on council budgets. Meanwhile the extent of sleaze within the Tory Party at Westminster continues to grow – a party which is more interested in helping lobbyists and lining its own pockets than serving the public.
By contrast, through the worst of the Pandemic, the Labour City Council has worked with a wide range of partners to provide public health support, funding for city businesses, support some of the most vulnerable in our communities and financial help for those on low incomes.
In parallel the council is building more energy efficient homes for private sale and for council rent; we are regenerating and improving parts of the city which need it through our Towns Deal programme and investing in skills training to provide well paid and secure jobs. Plans are progressing for a new
residential and cultural quarter for East Norwich which will provide up to 4000 new homes and 6000 jobs.
There are also pressing and immediate problems. As we face the winter months – and with the cost of living increasing –the council will continue to be there to support our residents. For example, by providing financial support to individuals through Covid self-isolation payments, our generous council tax support scheme for those struggling to pay bills and grants to help support businesses to continue to recover from the pandemic. Earlier, I made the point about people wanting a better post-COVID society. We are focusing on two areas to help make that happen. Our manifesto commits to building on our award-winning carbon reduction programme and creating a new independent Norwich Climate Commission to help steer a city-wide response to climate change.
Through the ‘Good Economy Commission’ we are working with partners to tackle in-work poverty and insecure employment. We have long promoted the “Real Living Wage’ and the number of employers paying it is growing significantly. At £9.90 an hour from April 2022, it is a vital contribution to creating an economy that benefits everyone. Next spring, we will be launching the action plan to become a ‘Living Wage City’. The ambition is to greatly expand the number of employers signed up to paying the ‘Real Living Wage’.
– Cllr Alan Waters, Labour Leader of Norwich City Council