Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Peter Chowney, Leader of Hastings Borough Council and Parliamentary candidate for the Labour Party

Peter Chowney, Leader of Hastings Borough Council and Parliamentary candidate for the Labour Party

Labour Party challenges Rudd to bring back fairness and compassion to a cruel, unfair benefits system

Amber Rudd has been challenged by Labour to “sort out the mess” of Universal Credit that has disadvantaged so many of her constituents in Hastings and Rye. They have been the “guinea pigs” of a flawed system, says Labour parliamentary candidate, Peter Chowney in an open letter to the MP.

“As the new Work and Pension Secretary, they’ll be expecting Ms Rudd to sort this mess out,” said Mr Chowney, “and to re-introduce fairness and compassion into the benefits and pensions system.”

Hastings was chosen as one of the first places to ‘roll out’ the controversial new benefit. But rather than helping those in need, it has made things worse, he said.

“Local people will remember
the cruelty shown to them by
Conservative austerity policies.”

“The stories of personal tragedy are everywhere, with people losing their homes, placing huge additional burdens on a council that’s had £40m cut from its budget since 2010.”

He added: “As councillors, we’ve witnessed the impact of that, with families forced into poverty and having to use foodbanks.”

On top of that are people caught up in “unfair and humiliating” Personal Independence Payments (PIP) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) assessments.

Labour also backs Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi), who have campaigned locally for a fair deal for women in their 60s, who have had their pensions stolen by the government.

Labour’s challenge to Amber Rudd is simple. She has the opportunity to show the people of Hastings and Rye that she really cares about all her constituents.

“If she fails to do that,” said Mr Chowney, “local people will remember the cruelty shown to them by Conservative austerity policies. And we’ll be making it very clear who’s to blame for those failings at the next general election.”

The Labour Manifesto pledges to:

  • Stop the roll-out of Universal Credit and deliver a system that leaves no one worse off.
  • Fund our public services by making sure the rich are taxed fairly.
  • Invest across the whole country to create 400,000 well-paid green jobs.

Also read A benefit adviser’s comments on Universal Credit

Posted 08:43 Tuesday, Nov 20, 2018 In: Politics


Please read our comment guidelines before posting on HOT
  1. pam brown

    Ok- comments from Labour’s PPC are relevant to the sad and unacceptable
    woes associated with U.C. However- where were these critics when Hastings was selected as a pilot to guage the effect of Universal Credit’s effect on
    peoples’ benefit entitlement ? Not a word from either our MP, or Labour’s
    spokesperson on the subject when opinions might have had an effect.
    In fact, it took Stephen Lloyd MP for Eastbourne to draw attention to the unfair and damaging consequences of the workings of U.C.
    Huffing and puffing as a possible General Election looms, is hardly the answer
    to all who are crying out for someone to repair the human damage being inflicted on many who can least what is happening to them.

    Comment by pam brown — Tuesday, Nov 27, 2018 @ 13:46

  2. Keith Piggott (Icarus)

    Icarus seconds Colin Foy and Ms Doubtfire.

    So, in eight years £40millions were Hastings’ contribution to post-Labour austerity – yet in just two years Hastings has spent some £23millions of public money on its offices and out of town retail properties, but excluding the circa £50,000 that might have kept the Pier in public hands after so much public money was poured into its rescue from private ownership and restoration.

    Ms Doubtfire might know the backstory to developers corrupting former officers whose legacy are plans encroaching 6-meters across my garden in a libellous disparagement of
    legal title that even our splendid Labour councillor Phil Scott has been unable to remove from planning websites. Ms Doubtfire should know golden-goodbyes paid those officers from public funds too are a secret defended to limit of my ability – unable to seek judicial review.

    My paternal family has lived here for many generations, and fought in world war to preserve our way of life… not this secretive authoritarian para-EU bureaucracy riding under a false flag pretending transparency and local democracy, even seeking to unseat a real democrat in the person of Amber Rudd MP.


    Comment by Keith Piggott (Icarus) — Monday, Nov 26, 2018 @ 00:32

  3. Bolshie

    Wow Cllr P.C. didn’t waste any time to have a stab at Amber Rudd, telling us what is wrong with the various things associated to her DWP minister role. You would think from reading this Labour know exactly what to do and there will be no issues or problems if they were running the country.
    Overall I do think it is a bit rich for this councillor criticising Rudd when he needs to get his own house / council that is in order. Noting what has been said by Mrs Doubtfire here about borrowing money and the various costs incurred with litigation over the pier. The cost of the Rocklands landslip fiasco. The amusement park footpath debacle.
    Then we have the millions(of public money) spent under this councillor’s watch with Sea Change and Sea Space. None if which seems to have been a raving success to lease out. And these new highways that have cost far more than projected. So I think in terms of telling us what is wrong with the system, he should be sorting out the problems in his own backyard.
    And by the way I am not a Conservative supporter or of any other party just in case you think I am pro Amber.

    Comment by Bolshie — Friday, Nov 23, 2018 @ 07:56

  4. David Stevenson

    A good idea on the face of it. Replace several benefits with one. What could possibly go wrong? Sadly, if politicians are involved, they usually do go wrong. It has become obvious that simplifying the complicated benefits system is beyond the ability of our elected (so-called) representatives. The present system has arisen in a piecemeal fashion over decades and has led to a situation where it is not uncommon to pay tax to one Government department and receive benefit from another department at the same time. Only politicians cannot see the nonsense of that. One needs to look at the bigger picture of income and taxation but that is outside the scope of this report.

    Comment by David Stevenson — Thursday, Nov 22, 2018 @ 20:11

  5. colin foy

    I come from a coal mining family of five children, and after the war all parents raised their children on little or no benefits. The good and rotten vegetables were weighed together with the dirt, and the last ration was in 1953. Food today is thrown away as if it grows on trees. The NHS is over crowded with people who drink, smoke and eat too much, and they also receive more benefits. Why?
    The NHS is for people that are ill not self inflicted. Mobility scooters are used to carry around their excess weight, and knock people off the pavement. Twice this year we had to get off the pavement.
    Time to go back to reality. At one time you paid your doctor to keep you well, and if you were ill you did not pay your doctor. It would be beneficial and cheaper to pay a little benefit to people that are healthy.

    Comment by colin foy — Thursday, Nov 22, 2018 @ 06:39

  6. Ms.Doubtfire

    Peter Chowney has got a nerve here! He is wasting money like there is no tomorrow – borrowing right left and centre and building a supermarket for a multi million pound company. Closing down the few public lavatories we once had and spending huge legal fees when any member of the public challenges his council’s inappropriate planning decisions.
    I feel confident that Amber Rudd will investigate the confusion surrounding this unwelcome universal credit scheme which is not doing what it is supposed to do, but, like the Windrush scandal, this mess is not down to Amber Rudd – she was not in post as Work & Pensions Secretary when these decisions were made and she was ill informed by her civil servants over the Windrush scandal. This has been admitted now and it is high time those who gave her false information were shown the door.
    Instead of having a go at Amber Rudd, the Leader of Hastings council should look at some of the decisions made by his own council which have cost us dear.

    Comment by Ms.Doubtfire — Tuesday, Nov 20, 2018 @ 11:12

  7. Mr Hippolyte Grigg

    If Cllr Chowney would be able to see today’s Times, and others, he will see that Amber Rudd is taking this on board in her capacity as Work and Pensions Minister.

    Comment by Mr Hippolyte Grigg — Tuesday, Nov 20, 2018 @ 10:40

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