Lib Dems accuse Tories of hypocrisy over key workers motion

St Albans district council leader Chris White has accused the Conservative group of "breathtaking hypocrisy".

St Albans district council leader Chris White has accused the Conservative group of "breathtaking hypocrisy". - Credit: SADC

A political row has broken out ahead of a council motion calling for a special thank you to critical workers who risked their lives during the pandemic.

The Tories on St Albans district council have proposed recognising the dedication, self-sacrifice, skill and hard work of frontline workers by allowing a 50 per cent discount on season parking permits or waiving the green waste charge for the rest of this financial year.

But the motion, which will go before full council tomorrow (Wednesday), has been resoundingly condemned by the Lib Dem administration as "breathtaking Tory hypocrisy"

Council leader Cllr Chris White said: “Wow! I have seen some hypocrisy in my time but this takes the biscuit.

"That the party which gave the NHS a pay cut in the middle of a Covid epidemic should pretend it cares about care workers is literally sickening. Fortunately not many people will be taken in.

"In detailed terms it’s almost impossible to know where to start with this piece of rubbish:

  • Whole rafts of people and organisations who helped in the pandemic ignored;
  • The idea that £45 would in any way make them feel better;
  • The idea that people put themselves forward in these emergencies for the cash:
  • The failure to acknowledge the desperate financial situation in which their government has put the district council (and most other councils);
  • The failure to acknowledge the devastating effect of the restrictions on Universal Credit, free school meals and business grant funding;
  • The economically illiterate idea that people aren't using car parks because they have to pay (as opposed to being nervous about the upsurge in coronavirus and avoiding shops etc).

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"It is increasingly apparent that the local Conservatives aren't a serious political party and are intent on wasting the time of local people and of this council and its officers with their shameless political posturing."

They have proposed an amendment to the motion which commits to:

  • An event in September to honour our hospitality food heroes as nominated by the public;
  • A special Mayor’s Pride Award in honour of our frontline workers and community champions, in partnership with the Cathedral and others;
  • calling upon all group leaders to write a joint letter to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government demanding full financial compensation for the costs of Covid;
  • calling upon the leader of the council to write to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care demanding an adequate salary increase for health and care workers;
  • further urging local politicians of all persuasions to use their influence to bring about the necessary changes in government policy. 

Cllr White added: "Our amendment rectifies the insult to all those people whom the Tories ignored and also provides some realistic proposals to acknowledge everyone’s work and lobby the government to mend its ways over Covid."