Blogpost: By UKIP cllr Luke Spillman
THERESA May promised the nation that she would be a Prime Minister who would look after the ‘Just-about-managing’. Well it appears that Thurrock Conservatives didn’t get the memo.
Last night the Tories tried to reduce the council tax support currently paid to some of the poorest working families in Thurrock. When it became apparent that their plans weren’t going to be approved they decided to play politics with some of our finest local voluntary services.
The chamber was asked to vote on seven measures. The last of which was a £50,000 grant to Thurrock Citizens Advice. It became clear that the chamber wasn’t willing to support increases in council tax for the working poor. At this point the portfolio holder for finance threatened to scrap funding for Thurrock Citizens Advice and allow the much-needed Housing Advice and Support Service to collapse.
I’ve got a lot of time for Cllr Hebb and Cllr Gledhill. They are proven performers in the chamber and important senior members of the local Tory machine. Politics aside they are both very pleasant chaps. However, they let themselves down last night. I believe they are both better than this.
In the Tory pre-meeting this strategy to try to force through a tricky proposal may have sounded ever so clever. I myself, on behalf of UKIP, had previously pleaded with the Tories not to let these essential services go to the wall. I worked for Citizens Advice for nearly a decade. The Tories chose to attempt to use this as leverage to secure these tax increases and score political points.
It was the ugly. Playing politics with the lives of the those struggling to make ends meet always is. We in UKIP chose to emphatically call the Tories out. We won’t increase tax burdens on working people already living in genuine poverty. Especially as we suspect that the Tories have huge council tax rises planned for next month’s budget.
The Tories are so out-of-touch that they genuinely believe that Thurrock is experiencing some sort of financial golden age right now. They believe that the people of Thurrock have never had it so good. Unlike the Tories, UKIP are actually rooted in our community. We understand that lots of people are really struggling and we won’t let them down.