Council declares cost of living emergency

Photo of Councillor Robert Banks

Lewes District Council has declared a cost-of-living emergency at a meeting of Full Council (July 18 2022).

The motion was proposed by Councillor Robert Banks, who described current price rises and inflation as a ‘perfect storm’ for local residents. Councillor Imogen Makepeace seconded the motion.

The Leader of the Council, Councillor James MacCleary, will now write to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to ask for a reduction in the rate of VAT to 17.5% from 20% (saving the average family £600), an immediate return of the £20 Universal Credit supplement and the reversal of cuts to Working Tax Credit.

Councillor Banks said: “This is without any doubt a perfect storm for so many of our residents and I’m calling on the government to do much more to help.   

“The motion that my fellow councillors supported includes a raft of sensible and timely measures that could avert severe hardship that is currently on course to hit millions of UK residents.”

Councillor Banks is also calling on an extension of free school meals, a £25 billion fund to enable the insulation of homes and more support for alternative energy sources, such as air source hear pumps.

Councillor Banks added: “The council will host a Cost-of-Living Emergency Summit, with stakeholders, including Citizens Advice, foodbanks, chambers of commerce, trade unions and local MPs, all invited to play their part in developing a Food and Fuel Action Plan.

“We know that the most vulnerable in our society are going to be hit hardest by these eye watering increases in day-to-day costs, so there can be no delay, we must act decisively and act now.”