Government accused of being “heartless” as 51,098 could be hit with benefit cuts

Analysis from the House of Commons Library commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has shown that across Sittingbourne & Sheppey and Faversham & Mid Kent, 6,004 people who receive the Disability Living Allowance, which helps disabled people with living costs, would be in line to take a real terms cut to their income. 

The families of disabled children who require the most support, meanwhile, would see a devastating £229 less per year in real terms. 

The research shows that a staggering total of 51,098  across Sittingbourne and Sheppey and Faversham and Mid Kent constituencies could end up seeing their support cut should the Conservatives go through with their plans.

The Liberal Democrat Group Leader at Swale Borough Council, Cllr Ben J Martin has urged the Government to immediately uprate benefits across the board for all those who need them. Cllr Martin has said that every hour the Government doesn't commit to uprating benefits thousands in Swale and across Kent face sleepless nights.

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Government must cancel October energy price rise to save families in Swale £111,877,771 Say Lib Dems

Swale's Liberal Democrats have called on the Government to spare families from soaring energy bills by cancelling October’s price cap increase, accusing the Conservatives of “stalling in the face of a national emergency”.

The bold plan would save a typical household in Swale an extra £1,879.98 a year. The 70% increase in the energy price cap expected to be announced by Ofgem later this month would be cancelled, with the Government instead paying the shortfall to energy suppliers so that they can afford to supply customers at the current rates.

This would mean a total estimated saving for households in Swale of £111,877,771 off their electricity and gas bills.

The Liberal Democrats say the estimated £36 billion cost should be met by expanding the windfall tax on oil and gas company profits and using the Government’s higher-than-expected VAT revenues as a result of soaring inflation.

The party is also calling for more targeted support for vulnerable and low-income households. This would include doubling the Warm Homes Discount to £300 and extending it to all those on Universal Credit and Pension Credit while investing in insulating fuel-poor homes to bring prices down in the long term.

Swale Liberal Democrat Group Leader Cllr Ben J Martin said:

“Hard-working families in Swale are already struggling to make ends meet, and are deeply concerned about how they will cope with the predicted rise in energy bills.

“This Conservative Government is stalling in the face of a national emergency and, yet again, is simply not doing enough to put money back in the pockets of hard-working people.

“Countless families and pensioners across Swale are already struggling, and they cannot wait for a new Conservative leader to act.

“This is an emergency, and the Government must step in now to help families and pensioners in Swale by cancelling the planned rise in energy bills this October.”


Swale’s Lib Dems back “Robin Hood tax” on energy giants to support families with heating bills

Cllr Ben J Martin, Leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Swale Borough Council has today written to the Secretary of State for Energy Kwasi Kwarteng demanding that he backs the party’s call for a “Robin Hood” tax on the super-profits of oil and gas firms, to raise money to support local families facing soaring energy costs. 

The proposed one-off levy could raise over £5 billion to help support families in Swale as their energy bills sky-rocket.

The Liberal Democrats say the money raised through this “one-off” tax could fund a substantial package of emergency support to help thousands of people facing higher bills.  

This would include doubling the Warm Homes Discount and extending it to all those receiving Universal Credit or Pension Credit, giving 17,743 households in Swale £300 each off their heating bills this year. 

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Faversham leading the way with new Living Roof Bus Shelters!

Liberal Democrat led Faversham Town Council, have been working hard on improving biodiversity in Faversham and proactively working with other organisations and the community to find new projects to benefit both wildlife and people's lives. The Climate and Biodiversity Working Group, chaired by Cllr Chris Williams, allocated funding to replace two bus shelters in the town centre with new ones to include a living roof. These shelters have been widely used in mainland Europe and are a beneficial way of increasing opportunities for biodiversity, help tackle poor air quality, and improving the amenity value of our community.

The first of living roof bus shelters order by the Town Council's Climate and Biodiversity working group has now been installed on The Mall, with a second to be installed on Stone Street in February. 

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15,698 low income households in Sittingbourne & Sheppey paying over the odds for their broadband as Government fails to act

15,698 low income households in Sittingbourne & Sheppey are paying too much for their broadband because the Government has not forced providers to offer cheaper tariffs, an analysis by the Liberal Democrats has found.

So-called ‘social tariffs’, which typically offer broadband access between £10 and £20 a month, are only currently offered by some providers. But changes to the law that came into force last year mean that the Government now has the ability to force broadband providers to offer these cheaper deals.

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to offer relief to families facing a cost of living crisis, by forcing broadband providers to offer cheaper deals to vulnerable consumers in Sittingbourne & Sheppey.

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Swale Lib Dems back call for climate action now!

Local Lib Dems have backed a letter sent to the COP26 climate change summit signed by hundreds of local councillors across the country calling on more power for local government to tackle climate change.

Councillor Eddie Thomas said:

“What the country has faced during the COVID-19 pandemic will pale in comparison to the economic and social impacts of climate breakdown if we do not take action immediately. The latest UK Climate Risk Assessment concluded that the UK is “woefully underprepared” for the impacts of climate change that will hit the country.

“The UK’s net zero targets can only be achieved if Government and local authorities work seamlessly together. More than half of the emissions cuts needed rely on people and businesses taking up low-carbon solutions – solutions around buildings, energy and transport - decisions that are made at a local and individual level.

“With 9 out of 10 councils having declared a climate emergency, full support from the Prime Minister and his government is needed to make sure local ambitions become a reality.”

Liberal Democrat Local Government Spokesperson Councillor Pippa Heylings, speaking at the COP26 summit said: “The UK cannot meet net zero without local councils. Councils have influence over a third of the UK’s carbon emissions. We need to be able to work together with central government on this. Over 350 Liberal Democrat Councillors have signed this letter calling on the Prime Minister to take action.”

More Affordable Homes Delivered in Swale

More new affordable homes have been delivered in Swale in the past two & a half years than in the preceding 4 years says Swale Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Ben J Martin (Lib Dem). 

The delivery of much-needed affordable housing is a key priority of Swale's Coalition Administration. Swale's Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Cllr Ben J Martin who leads on housing at Swale said "Delivering more affordable housing remains a key target of the administration, and especially of the Liberal Democrats at Swale. I'm really pleased that the actions we have taken to secure increased affordable housing in the borough, both through the planning process and through encouraging registered providers to spend their grant funding in the borough is having an impact."

Cllr Ben J Martin by newly built Optivo Homes

Ben continued "I strongly believe that everyone deserves a decent, warm, safe, secure place to call home that they can afford. Despite the impact of the pandemic on the construction industry, we have delivered 81 more affordable homes in the borough in 2 years than the previous Conservative administration managed in 4 years, and we have many more affordable homes in the pipeline."

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Lib Dem lobbying leads to more tree planting

Several new trees have been planted on highway verges across Faversham following lobbying from Lib Dem-led Faversham Town Council's Climate and Biodiversity committee. 


Cllr Chris Williams said "It's great to see new trees being planted in Abbey Place and Station Road by KCC highways. Lobbying from Faversham Town Council's Climate and Biodiversity group has helped secure funding for these in our town. Also a commitment for many more next year!"


Since the Lib Dems took the majority of seats on Faversham Town Council in May 2019, the town council has invested significant efforts in attempting to tackle the Climate and Biodiversity emergency, including last years Tree week tree giveaway, where the town council gave away 1,000 trees for residents to plant in their gardens, planting bee-friendly plants across town, lobbying for increased re-wilding, reducing the town council's carbon footprint and running a number of events across town. 


This week see the Council host a series of events in the run-up to COP26 to engage with young people about the Climate and Biodiversity Emergency.


Swale Lib Dem Councillors call on MP's to stop sewage discharges

Swale Lib Dem Councillors have called on MPs to support amendment aimed at preventing water companies from dumping untreated sewage into rivers, seas, and waterways. 

In a vote in parliament on the Amendment earlier this week, Conservative MPs, with the exception of a small number of rebels, voted not to include it as the bill continues its journey through parliament. 

Councillor Hannah Perkin, has Helen Whately MP ahead of tomorrow's important vote in the House of Commons asking her to change her mind and to vote for greater protection of our rivers from sewage dumping.

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Lib Dem Led Faversham Town Council Works to Raise Awareness of Dyslexia

Lib Dem Led Faversham Town Council has run a series of events to mark Dyslexia Awareness Week. 

The event's arranged by the Town Council's Youth Working group included a performance by the Award-winning Sam Rapp, the dyslexic poet, a community support event, supported by Faversham Dyslexia and a weeklong exhibition proved very popular, with employers, parents, and education professionals engaging with councillors and officers to learn and understand both the challenges and strengths dyslexic thinkers have. 

Cllr Ben J Martin said "As a dyslexic myself, it has been a real privilege to be able to help so many people this past week, both to understand dyslexia but also to help parents and children recently diagnosed as having dyslexia to access the support service available."



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