Lib Dems added to this Brexit chaos

Bath Chronicle - - OPINION -

Lo­cal coun­cil­lor Sue Craig made it clear in her let­ter to the Bath Chron­i­cle that her pri­or­ity is Europe not lo­cal res­i­dents. Brexit chaos is fiercely con­sum­ing time, money, at­ten­tion and en­ergy – many of us, not the Lib Dems, un­der­stand that Brexit is a symp­tom and not the dis­ease. With so many Bath res­i­dents fac­ing a des­per­ate win­ter as cuts dig deep into their lives, you have to be a pretty lucky per­son for Brexit to be your all-con­sum­ing is­sue. In the week of the United Na­tions damn­ing re­port by Pro­fes­sor Philip Al­ston on poverty in the UK was pub­lished, surely it’s time to ac­cept that cuts in­flicted by the Con­ser­va­tives and Lib­eral Democrats have “torn at the fab­ric of so­ci­ety.” An ob­vi­ous ex­am­ple of the ex­treme lev­els of poverty is home­less­ness. Vis­i­ble rough sleep­ing is in­creas­ing in Bath but it is the tip of the ice­berg. In 2015 Cri­sis es­ti­mated that 3.52 mil­lion adults were “hid­den home­less” con­cealed within house­holds. Es­pe­cially true where hous­ing is as ex­pen­sive as Bath. Yet, at the Home­less Con­fer­ence hosted by Wera Hob­house re­cently, she of­fered no so­lu­tions and didn’t give del­e­gates the chance to ques­tion her record on hous­ing. There was no men­tion of the re­duc­tion of 35 per cent in gov­ern­ment spend­ing on hous­ing dur­ing the coali­tion gov­ern­ment 20102015 – a 44 per cent re­duc­tion in spend­ing on new homes. Nor of the coali­tion wel­fare re­forms and mas­sive cuts to coun­cil bud­gets. The Lib Dems worked with the Tories to re­move the safety net for or­di­nary Bath res­i­dents. As the fifth largest world econ­omy these cuts were de­scribed by the UN in­ves­ti­ga­tor as a po­lit­i­cal choice, where com­pas­sion and con­cern had been ‘out­sourced’ for tax cuts for the rich. What is clear is that Wera Hob­house’s and Lib Dem ‘con­cern’ for home­less­ness and so­cial de­pri­va­tion is purely op­por­tunis­tic. Yet iron­i­cally, the UN con­cluded, “it was these very fears and in­se­cu­rity [of poverty] that con­trib­uted sig­nif­i­cantly to the Brexit vote.” Isn’t it time for the Lib Dems to be hon­est about their con­tri­bu­tion to the Brexit chaos? Dr Sharon Gillings Bath Labour can­di­date for Kingsmead Ward

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