LABOUR’S parliamentary candidate for Thurrock, Polly Billington has gone on the attack over a senior Conservative councillor’s defence of the Bedroom Tax.
Last week, cllr Rob Gledhill, Thurrock Conservatives housing spokesman, said: “The most anyone in Council housing with one spare room will have to pay is around £70 per month. There will always be residents like Mrs Twinn who may need extra assistance, which is why the government has given Thurrock a grant of £354,000 to help families who have a particular need. The Labour run Council could boost this by a further £855,000 if it wishes to do so.
However, Labour seems to have forgetten to mention this when they are looking to grab the headlines. Conservative Councillors will continue to help Mrs Twinn with an application for discretionary housing assistance”.
Ms Billington has responded by saying:
“I am disappointed but not surprised by Cllr Gledhill’s response on the bedroom tax. £70 may not sound like a lot to him but it is to many of the families who are being affected. Some, because of other changes will have to find more, whilst some of the poorest are facing this – the highest earners are getting a tax cut?
The hardship fund is only for short term relief, and those who can’t move house will be permanently worse off. Despite the best efforts of the council to house everyone who is affected and can downsize, many people simply won’t be able to find a smaller home. If they do it could be in the private sector – which is likely to cost more for them and for the taxpayer.
Cllr Gledhill should accept where the responsibility lies for this: the Tory-led government which he and Jackie Doyle-Price supports. I still think that most people want fairness – and taking money from the poorest and giving it to the richest doesn’t seem fair to anyone – other than Tory MPs!
In this week when Thurrock foodbank is raising awareness of the help they give people struggling to feed their families, his comments show just how out of touch the Tories are.”