Leonie Mathers guest column: Government cuts are unfair on Hucknall

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This week, as wealthy bankers and Tory MPs were getting hot under the collar about Labour’s commitment to reverse the tax break for milllionaires, I met with the Leader of Ashfield District Council about the massive Government cuts hitting Hucknall.

One of the concerns I raised is around the council’s cash office on Watnall Road, Hucknall, where hundreds of residents each week pay their council tax, rent and charges.

Eye-watering Government cuts of £1.1million this year mean the council simply can’t afford the almost £100,000 it costs to run cash offices across the district any more.

Not only is this closure unfair on those who want to pay in person – usually because they don’t have access to internet banking – but it could also mean fewer people come into the town centre, where lots of shops are already struggling as people face a cost of living crisis.

Effectively, the Government have asked Ashfield District Council to make a choice between chopping off Hucknall’s right arm, or its left.

Whatever happened to “we’re all in it together”? It will come as no surprise to anyone who has ever lived through a Tory Government that Councils representing richer areas are seeing fewer cuts. It’s galling to know that if our area had only faced the average cut this year, the council would have £157,000 extra in the bank– plenty to keep open the cash offices and still protect vital services.

But that is just a drop in the ocean compared to the estimates of up to £3 billion per year which could be generated by our commitment to bring back the 50p top rate of tax for those earning over £150,000.

Rather than continuing to vote for unfair cuts round here and tax breaks for millionaires, our Tory MP should stand up for Hucknall and argue against his Government’s unfair cuts which are damaging our community. While he’s at it, he could stand up to David Cameron’s millionaire chums too, and finally ask the wealthiest to start paying their way.