Recently the Conservative MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey made a rare speech in the House of Commons. It was a speech that has caused anger, shock and contempt both locally and more widely across the country. Mr Henderson’s contention was that the introduction of Universal Credit was on balance beneficial, experiencing only a few teething problems, was not adding significantly to homelessness and was not linked to the ever growing numbers having to visit foodbanks. Most alarming was his attempt to stigmatise people in need as essentially “feckless”. This is not only demoralising for people, most of whom already feel uneasy at being dependent on help of this kind, but it is profoundly wrong. The speech also caused criticism as he appears to have misused a fleeting visit to a Foodbank as evidence of concern and engagement. Mr Henderson’s preoccupation appears to be to deflect criticism away from his party.
It is not the policy that is in dispute, it is the appalling way it isn’t being delivered. Just like the Poll Tax a generation ago, its cumbersome and mendacious roll out is leading to many people losing out. The false contention that UC is not leading to homelessness is contradicted by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee and by housing charities and providers all over the country. People are becoming homeless because of the time gap before the first grant is received, the dependence on complicated online applications and, as always with Tory reforms, the reduction in funding.
We expect to see some changes in the budget.
Mr Henderson’s attitude shows a lack of sympathy for those in need. It is, as we say, profoundly demoralising to those people but also to the humble kindly people who try to help without public acclamation.
32 people, including Colleagues from London and Faversham, helped make today’s Action Day in Roman and Murston wards really successful – and the sun shined! The campaigning was in support of candidates Nik Hurwood and Ashley Wise in Murston, and Tim Gibson and Ken Rowles in Roman.
KCC Consultation on Non-Household Waste
KCC has undertaken a review of its Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) policies and as part of this are consulting on a proposal to charge for the disposal of non-household waste (soil, rubble, hardcore and plasterboard) at the HWRCs.
The consultation is live from Thursday 6 September 2018 for a period of 8 weeks until Thursday 1 November 2018. Please visit and have your say.
Gill Smith (pictured with Sheerness Councillor Angela Harrison) came a valiant second in yesterday’s Sheppey East By-Election. Gill polled 338 votes (30%, a 16% rise in voter share) against 522 for the Tories and 235 for UKIP. The Lib Dems got a rather pathetic 23. The increase in voter share was thanks to the work of over 60 volunteers from Sittingbourne, Sheppey and 7 other constituences from around Kent. Gill has determined to carry on and prepare the ground for next year’s full Borough Elections.
We are delighted to announce that Gill Smith has been selected as our candidate for the Sheppey East by-election set for May 3rd. Gill lives locally in the ward and has family links to the Island that go back over 100 years. She has many years of experience helping people and developing community projects, including 10 years as a foster carer. She has worked with young people and adults, tackling issues such as unemployment, mental health, addiction and homelessness. Gill has been an advisor for the Citizens Advice Bureau and most recently worked with children suffering problems with anti-social behavior and education. Gill is warm and approachable but assertive. She will speak up for Sheppey East.
She is a passionate member of the Labour Party, who believes that we must ensure that people can thrive in a democratic society that values us all and that encourages both enterprise and social justice. She believes this part of Sheppey badly needs stronger representation on Swale Borough Council.