LETTERS - councillor defection, and tax rise controversy - The Redditch Standard

LETTERS - councillor defection, and tax rise controversy

Redditch Editorial 10th Feb, 2024   0

‘Defector should face an immediate election’

I NOTE a Labour councillor has defected to the inappositely named Liberal Democrats, a party whose past activities appear to hold both concepts in disdain.

A view reinforced by Mr Thompson, presumably their local leader, being ‘delighted’ and ‘thrilled’ at having a councillor without the trouble of winning an election.

Looking through the list of potential Labour councillors in your January 19 issue, I also note the woman concerned is missing from the list.

This leaves even the most charitably minded wondering as to what motivated her defection.

Labour happens to be particularly fortunate in the calibre of many of their councillors and candidates at the moment so some people will miss out on selection.

This does not excuse her disdain for those who only voted for her because she was the Labour candidate.

On a wider point, there should be legislation to prevent those who betray their party, and, more importantly, those who voted for them, from staying in place without an election, be it at parish, borough, county or parliamentary level.

The only honourable exception to this defecting without seeking a new mandate I can think of was Douglas Carswell who left the Conservatives to join UKIP and stood at a by-election (he won by 12,500 votes).

Your readers may recall in the final weeks of the last Parliament there were all sorts of parties represented in the Commons by MPs who had defected or set up a new party.

All were swept away in December 2019 and hopefully the same will happen to this unelected Liberal in May.

K Wass

‘Minimal council tax rise for those on benefits’

I WAS disappointed to read the Redditch Standard’s coverage of the council rent rise.

This article completely misses the context that the 78 per cent of tenants who are either on Universal Credit or housing benefit will receive an increase in their payments of 6.7 per cent as set out in the Chancellor’s statement.

Therefore the actual cost of the increase to those where these payments cover all their rent will be only 0.3 per cent, and the cost to those where the payments cover part of their rent the rise will be much lower than seven per cent.

This point was made in the chamber and in the meetings papers. It changes the front page story completely.

Coun Luke Court

Portfolio holder for Finance on Redditch Borough Council.

* EDITOR’S NOTE: After the meeting, we contacted the Conservatives regarding the rent rise to offer a right to reply and the chance to highlight any important points they felt needed making in relation to it.

Had they been made to us when we asked, we would, of course, have included them. We are happy for these views to be made through this letters page.

‘Town’s worse off will lose out, not gain’

I READ a social media comment from Redditch Conservative Coun Luke Court who is responsible for hiking council rents by seven per cent this year.

He said 78 per cent of tenants that are either on Universal Credit or housing benefit will receive an increase in their payments of 6.7 per cent set out in the Chancellor’s statement and they will therefore only need to find 0.3 per cent extra to pay towards their rent.

Not only is this completely out of touch with the struggles of people in Redditch who are the lowest paid in West Midlands and face a rising need for foodbanks – but even more worryingly he is actually wrong and many could end up not eligible or worse off.

Thousands of people in receipt of welfare payments from the Department for Work and Pensions will face seeing their entitlement CUT from April 2024 despite the 6.7 per cent raise announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

Jeremy Hunt’s decision not to raise the benefit cap in tandem with the payments will mean that the increase announced will actually serve to push more people beyond the cap’s threshold.

This will obviously drastically affect those in Redditch that this applies to and they could in effect be much worse off, proving you can’t trust the Conservatives either locally or nationally

A Berry,

Redditch resident


‘Tories offer pennies and take back pounds’

I AM proud to be part of the Labour Group voting against another seven per cent rise in council rents.

For me the decision is simple – we can’t keep putting pressure on residents who are already at the sharp end of the cost-of-living crisis.

That’s why there’s been a 6.7 per cent increase in universal credit – to help those people get by.

We also voted against a 25 per cent increase in Dial A Ride charges, whereby every journey will be increased by £1, putting a basic round trip up from £8 to £10.

Portfolio holder Coun Lucy Harrison tried to claim these rises were fair as service users would be saving £1.50-a-year on registration.

I’m sure our vulnerable and elderly residents will be less than impressed.

These are just two examples of Conservative economics which gives out pennies with one hand, and demands pound notes with the other.

Coun Sharon Harvey,

Redditch Labour


IT IS fantastic news that Volunteer It Yourself (VIY) has received £360,000 in Government funding to renovate community spaces in Redditch and Bromsgrove.

It is important people get the help and support where and when they need it most.

These projects the cash will be used for – including providing places for young people to spend their time, participate in sport and get free work experience – are desperately needed so the next generation can get the opportunities they need to thrive.


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