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Labour Party Slams Guildford Council’s Response to the Cost of Living Crisis

Published on: 26 Oct, 2022
Updated on: 28 Oct, 2022

By Martin Giles

The Guildford Labour Party say they have “absolutely no confidence” that the borough council can deal effectively with the cost of living crisis locally.

Speaking on behalf of the party that has just two councillors on the 48-seat council, vice-chair Howard Smith said: “Offering soup one day a week in Park Barn would be laughable if the situation weren’t so serious.”

Cllrs Joss Bigmore and Julia McShane pictured at their recent handover of leadership

Council leader and lead councillor for Communities and Housing, Julia McShane had earlier issued a statement saying the council was working hard to support residents, that there was a strong community network in the borough and local community groups are supporting neighbours.

She said: “The Household Support Fund will soon be available again to those in need. Residents can apply for funding using a simple online application form.

“Those who are unable to access the internet can get assistance from the Community Services team with their application. We encourage all residents in need to get in touch if they need support via: All applications are treated confidentially.

“Our community fridge and donation bank provide food, household items and clothing. All residents across the borough can access this service. The community services team can help residents access other community fridges and food banks in the borough. To help people who are unable to collect food parcels in person, we also provide a delivery service.

“The rising costs of energy risks placing many of our residents in fuel poverty. To help, we run a fuel voucher support scheme, in partnership with Warmth Matters. We are also offering The Hive as a warm space during working hours for those in need. A free cup of coffee or tea will be available. On Wednesdays, the team will be offering soup.

“We will work with our partners at Surrey County Council, voluntary, charity and faith organisations to further help our residents in need. We will signpost residents to the most appropriate source of support for their situation.”

Howard Smith, vice chair of Guildford Labour Party.

Howard Smith of the Labour party responded: “The roots of this crisis surely date back to the five years of austerity co-authored by the Liberal Democrats. It is worth reminding ourselves that when the LibDem-Residents for Guildford & Villages administration took over in 2019 the council finances were in fairly good order.

“Now we have a financial crisis with a forecast council deficit of £3m, despite already making cuts to much-needed services like Citizens Advice and the closure of the day centre in Ash.

“The council needs to consider more serious options such as a rent freeze or rent holidays for council tenants and funding for Citizens Advice to expand its outreach services (rather than cutting its support as at present).”

“We have absolutely no confidence that this council can make the hard decisions needed to recover the situation.”

If you are a resident in need you can speak to Community Services via: or call 01483 444 150.


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Responses to Labour Party Slams Guildford Council’s Response to the Cost of Living Crisis

  1. Annie Stone Reply

    October 30, 2022 at 2:36 pm

    It’s a cost of the Covid crisis. Under Labour we would still be in lockdown.

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