I WAS shocked to read in last week’s Sussex Express the proposals from Lewes District Council to change the basis on which Council Tax Benefit is calculated and paid and in so doing to penalise the poorest and most vulnerable in the our community. The proposal is made as a direct consequence of the government’s cuts and their continued attacks on the poorest members of society and the district council should resist.
However, because the proposal is a result of the government’s policies, I went to a meeting held but Norman Baker in Seaford on Friday, 14 September, to ask him what he thought of it. The meeting began with Mr Baker providing very selective examples of what the Lib-Con government has achieved over the past two and a half years. What he didn’t mention were the cuts to working tax credits, cuts to child benefit, cuts to housing benefit, the abolishment of the Educational Maintenance Allowance for poorer students, the increase in VAT which hits the poorest hardest, and the attacks on benefits for the disabled.
Mr Baker felt most proud of his proposals for cycling and transport infrastructure and showed no contrition for the cuts that affect the poorest in society. He said he didn’t like what the district council was proposing but seemed to ignore that this was as a result of policies from a government of which he is a member. I asked him whether he would campaign on behalf of the most vulnerable if food banks or payday loan companies were set up in Lewes District and he refused to answer.
I am pleased that Lewes Stop the Cuts have brought this to the attention of Lewes District residents and urge everyone to attend the meeting on 12 October, contact their local councillors to register their opposition to the draft scheme, complete the survey on the council’s website and condemn the proposed scheme.
Tony Rowell, Lewes