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Westminster diary – 25.04.19

I hope everyone was able to enjoy the fine weather of last weekend and had a Happy Easter. I was delighted to give one of the lent addresses at the beautiful St Mary’s Church in Warwick a couple of weeks ago and reflected on faith and how we educate. Then, the weekend before last, I was pleased to attend the Warwick and Leamington Gurdwara Sahib for Vaisakhi.

We are living through disturbing times, with terrible terrorist atrocities such as the attacks on the churches in Sri Lanka and the earlier one on the mosque in Christchurch. We are witnessing a growing religious intolerance and rising racism in our communities, we must work to ensure the freedom of worship and I have written to the Police and Crime Commissioner to ask what safeguards are in place in our communities.

Elsewhere, local households received their council tax bills earlier this month and council tax is being increased by an eye-watering £92 for a typical household. Yet, everyone knows our services are getting worse due to continued austerity. At a time when households are under huge financial pressure, facing large rises in food prices, energy costs and other utilities, the increases by both Conservative-controlled district and county councils fails to recognise just how tough things are out there.

We’re also in the middle of the worst housing crisis in our post-war period and Warwick District Council fails to build enough social rented housing, instead choosing to flog off precious land to the private sector to build unaffordable, unwanted private housing – as is the case with their offices move. If you have been following my column, you will know I have been at the forefront of protests against the office move. I took the opportunity to meet local residents again last week who protested outside the Town Hall.. Despite the council’s cynical postponement of the final decision until after the local elections, this issue will not go away and anger is only rising.