Lone protest over social rents hike in Lewes District

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Cllr Donna Edmunds was the only member to vote against a 4.24 per cent increase in social rents at a Lewes District Council meeting last week.

The rise will take place on the April 1 and is equivalent to around £15 a month on average.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Edmunds (Barcombe and Hamsey) said: “Last month I was one of only three councillors voting against the £20 a month Council Tax rise aimed solely at the poorest in our District.

“This month I’m the lone councillor speaking out against these rent hikes, again aimed squarely at the poorest.

“What do all of my colleagues have against the hard-up in our community?”

The council’s lone UKIP member continued: “The councillors amongst us who drive Bentleys and 4x4s might not think that £35 is very much money, but to someone struggling to make ends meet it can mean the difference between putting food on the table and having to visit a food bank.

“If our budget is constrained, it is up to us as councillors to identify efficiency savings.

“Lewes District Council spent more than a million pounds on external lawyers’ fees last year despite having a team of lawyers on our books.

“Why? We shouldn’t expect the people of Lewes District to hand over more of their hard earned money so that we can simply carry on frittering it away.”

Cllr Edmunds defected to UKIP in January after quitting the Conservative party in protest at a controversial vote on changes to the Council Tax rebate scheme. She said the party “had lost its way”.