Labour parliamentary candidate for East Thanet Polly Billington: The Autumn statement  and Thanet

Polly Billington has been selected to represent Labour at the next General Election Photo Julian Newick

When news broke about 500 jobs going at Pfizer in Sandwich, it felt like another hammer blow for the local economy. That is 500 families worrying about the future and facing a cold and anxiety-ridden Christmas. It’s clear we need a proper industrial strategy to attract and maintain high quality jobs like those at Pfizer. The problems in the economy go wider than those families as demonstrated by the government’s tax plans announced this week.

As winter draws in and energy bills are going up, more families in Thanet are worrying about the cost of keeping warm. With the rise of the government’s cap on energy prices, the average annual bill will be nearly £2000. It’s in that context that we should consider the Tory tax cuts announced this week. Because of tax rises – more than 25 since 2019 – we are all worse off. We are headed in the direction of having the highest tax burden ever as a nation. The average family, thousands of pounds down as a result of those Tory tax rises, has now been given a couple of hundred quid back and is expected to be grateful.

Unsurprisingly they are not. When I talk to people as I’m campaigning around Thanet, their worries about making ends meet come up again and again. Food inflation is more than 10% and many are anxious as rents and mortgages rise too. More than 11000 families in Thanet are paying an extra £250 a month on their mortgage because of Tory mismanagement of the economy. When people ask themselves – “Are my family and I better off than we were 13 years ago?” the answer is an emphatic no. Living standards are falling. This parliament will be the first when people are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.

It doesn’t need to be this way. The country – and Thanet – needs a change and it needs it sooner rather than later. But because – as so many people tell me – “everything is broken” we need to be careful and not try to do everything at once or promise the earth.

That’s why I am listening to Thanet residents and talking through plans to improve family finances. We need better insulated homes to cut our energy bills by £500 per year, clean cheap home grown energy that will cut bills by £900 per year and cracking down on car insurance pricing, subscription traps and unfair postcode pricing which could save families £400 a year. But perhaps most important of all is the need for a government that will be responsible with money and never again have a Prime Minister or a Chancellor who forces through unfunded or uncosted spending commitments.

We are all paying the price of the Tories’ irresponsible running of the economy so it really matters that we do this right. The impact on communities like Thanet can be huge: if people have less money to spend, our high streets and businesses suffer. Jobs go and shops close. Underfunded public services mean more families struggle. We have to get out of this vicious cycle. The sooner there is a general election the better.

55 Comments

  1. After 13 years of being told how badly the country has been run. I can’t wait for the opposition to have a go. Surely with 13 years of preparation we should see an instant upturn.

      • Well that’s a strange comment.
        We have massively achieved a lot in the first six months; more street cleaning, a huge uptick in council homes, greenlit major works to our coastal defences and made good progress on levelling up projects.
        This has all been achieved working within the constraints previous administration’s budget.

        • You forgot to mention that you’re currently presiding over a £1.2m budget overspend for the year but still handed yourselves a backdated 10% rise in your allowances. And the increase in street cleaners, whilst announced by Labour, was actually down to the Tories making provision in the 23/24 budget for them prior to the May elections.

          So not such a strange comment.

          • I believe you’re wrong about the additional street cleaners (although it’s possible I am).
            Having watched the meeting, my understanding is that Labour attempted to add an amendment to this year’s budget that would allow for additional street cleaners. This was rejected by the Tory-run council at the time.
            It’s all there on YouTube though if you want to check me.
            As for overspends, all local authorities are under increased pressure due to central govt cuts.
            In the meantime, we are being hit by the double-whammy of inflation on all goods and services matched by increased strain on our duty to house those who’ve been victim of no-fault evictions owing to the inflationary rental market (thanks Liz Truss).
            Put in context however, TDC is very well managed financially, especially when compared to other local authorities and while we need to be diligent – there is no danger on the overall wellbeing of the council.

        • Huge uptick in Council homes, that is blatant misinformation (some would even call it a LIE)? Some never learn.

          • Explain?
            I’m sure I’ve been on the Overview & Scrutiny Panels that helped approved their purchase.

  2. I’m not too sure how the last 13 years of gov ( for all the disasters in that time) can be held to account for global financial markets and the inevitable increase of interest rates from abnormal historical lows to what are now still historically onnthe low side of average.
    Can we expect labour to conjure up a set of conditons that allow the UK to be out of step with the rest of the globe when they gain the keys to number 10.
    Pfizer are already a shadow of their former presence in Sandwich, the original down sizing more to do with the US introducing policies that actively encouraged US companies to repatriate jobs and dollars, the only way to beat that is to slash business taxes and encourage investment, which is what the much pilloried Truss. Kwarteng budget was meant to do, but had no chance to try.
    Will labour be making substantial cuts to business taxes?

  3. There are none so brown that they will not see!
    Are you telling me that it is not possible for anyone,and I mean anyone, to perform better than the current government?
    At every turn each Tory administration has goofed at some level.This one is slightly better than lettuce leaf Truss, but not by much.I woke up this morning and find that we are now in a culture war with Greeks,how on earth did they manage that?
    I think you two ought to keep schtumm and wait for the general election to put Sunak out of his misery.

    • My “ for all the disasters in that time” was in reference to the tory government performance. Tue tories have forgotten what they are meant to be and have been pretty much talen over by Lib Dems who know that on their own they’d amount to nothing.
      That , like most of the globe, we’ve broken the link between actually producing stuff and improving the country by living within our means , by binging on debt at governement level and trying to keep the electorate happy by letting them similarly gorge at the trough of cheap money, means that in the absence of more financial wizardry the day of reckoning has arrived ( though in reality it arrived a little while ago but mass migration has been used to fiddle the books).
      The global fiancial snafus have been the resultmof allowing the money markets to concoct ansurd ways of ladling money out to anyone who could fill a form in.
      Wellfare has got totally out of kilter and far too many can choose not to work. The nation is grotesquely fat, incredibly unfit and lazy, along with becoming addicted to social media that has given people the notion that they should be getting everything for next to no effort.
      No one has the backbone to start tovturn things round ( it’ll take decades ) and we’ll be hobbled the whole way by the slavish abherence to the belief in net zero.
      Quite what labour will do remains to be declared, currently they can sit and just say “ we wouldn’t have done that” but actually have no policy of their own. The only short to medium term way they can raise any money is through even more tax, but they will duck and weave incessantly to avoid saying so in the run up to an election, but given the properly wealthy will be pushing the “escape” button as the inevitable labour win is an ounced will mean that the extra taxes will fall on those who can’t afford to leave or manage their affairs to avoid the taxes.
      The next parliament is likely to end up being the greatest period of levelling down in UK history and going cap in hand to the imf not unlikely.
      The events in Ukraine and mMiddle east are stopping any interest in the EU’s position, it’ll be interesting to see if germany can avoid a economic dose of flu and not drag europe as a whole down with it.
      Jacinda Aherne and before long Trudeau will be have been dumped in favour of more sensible government.
      Absurdly the tories could probably do well enough to hang on in parliament, but to do so they’d have to offer huge bribes, say raise income tax allowances to 20 and 60k over the course of a parliament , massive tax breaks for business and finally do something meaningful about migration , nhs and the welfare state.

      It’s all a terrible mess both domestically and globally, who’d bet against Trump not winning if he’s up against Biden?

      I rather suspect things will get worse before they get better, I don’t see either labour or the tories achieving anything positive , which is a vit of a problem as there are no other alternatives.

  4. So, the excuse is turmoil in world markets.
    How about resilience? By running down defence, education,the health service and local govt on the grounds of reducing the deficit,it made our response to all the shocks and bumps along the road that much weaker.Granted COVID was a real problem,but so was the collapse of the financial system a decade earlier and that govt allowed the country to ride the storm .what it did not do was fund fraudsters and ministerial chums as happened in 2020.
    It’s a test of government in how well it overcomes adversity,not make it worse.

    • It’s the ‘Iron Child’ Nokes again babbling away. As for suggesting that two of the previous contributors ‘ keep schtumm’ how about practising what you preach.

    • The last collapse was not a decade ago but 15 years during the Blair then Brown time . It was an era of lax controls over the banks and Brown I believe sold our assets ( gold ) off whilst at its lowest price. Because the banks had not been regulated and behaved like headless chickens buying vast amounts of bad debt ( hidden in C. D. O. s ) they had to be saved to protect our prudent savers money held in them. QE was invented ( endless printing crazy amounts of money ) and interest rates were slashed to less than 1% . This meant savers were penalised for being prudent and borrowers were rewarded with ultra cheap loans. Basically devaluing any savings one had built up. It was the beginning of the end as the Tories were voted in to correct the mess but sadly kept printing millions of pounds. Covid and then Putins war were an unexpected shock , so more money was printed ( Billions in fact ) and although times are hard for everybody my bet is that Labour will be absolutely successful in making a bad situation into a total disaster . The old adage – Be careful what you wish for – is paramount 🤔🤔🤔

      • The banking collapse of 2008 was precipitated by poor regulation of the USA system, particularly with respect to sub-prime mortgages. It had nothing to do with Labour.

        By many a metric, the performance of this tory government has been abysmal. As the very wealthy get even richer, the use of food banks has rocketed. The NHS continues to be underfunded. Waiting lists go up and up. NHS Dentistry doesn’t exist in Kent. We’ve suffered the consequences of the BREXIT fiasco – driven by David Cameron’s terrible decisions.

        Inflation rates have shot up because of the Truss/Kwateng fiasco.

        It’s time for a change.

  5. I know it’s unfashionable to post anything positive online, but I’m far better off now than I was 13 years ago (apart from being older and more decrepid that is, not something I can blame the Tories for!).

  6. I hope our new Labour candidate is better than the newly appointed Labour Councillors for the Viking Ward.I voted Labour for the first time ever in the local Councillor elections and they have been very disappointing.They don’t even respond to emails.At least the old Tory who lost his seat returned a response.All talk I’m afraid.

    • My experience is quite the opposite. On the occasions I’ve emailed my TDC councillors, I’ve always had a reply.

    • I’m sorry you haven’t had a response.
      I check my emails every day and don’t have any unread as far as I can see.
      Maybe you have the wrong address format.
      Please feel free to email at [email protected] and I will respond asap.
      Hopefully I can help.
      Kristian

    • Just to let you know Dave, that I went through all my councillor accounts and can’t find any unread so I’m not sure what’s going on.
      I also can’t understand how you received an email from the councillor who lost his seat.
      As the previous Conserveative councillor stepped down from the role and had his email accounts closed – I’m not sure how you managed to contact him, let alone got a response.
      You now have my correct details, together with an assurance that I’ll respond – please don’t hesitate to contact me.

  7. I can’t wait to see the end of tory rule, so much appalling waste and corruption. However what I find odd is how Polly Billington refuses to respond to emails about her intentions if she is elected.
    Even Mackinlay writes back!
    So how are we supposed to respond to Polly’s campaigning? Her message seems to be “vote for me while I ignore you”.
    Very sad.

    • It’s quite staggering the number of Thanet Greens on social media & here declaring they won’t be voting for Polly Billington or Craig Mackinlay because of lack of response or for voting the ‘wrong’ way or for not telling them how they’d vote in a hypothetical scenario, & not the honest reason which is they’ll be voting for their own candidate anyway.

    • You are so right Garry! I have emailed Polly asking her what is her position on the possible re-opening of Manston, and she has never replied once! The problem with voting in a First Past The Post electoral system is many people vote against someone, rather than for them! In fact in every election since the war more people voted against any elected government, than for it, how is that right!

      I may sit on my hands at the next General Election, as I haven’t a clue what Labour policies are! Polly says the current chancellor “forces through unfunded or un-costed spending commitments”, well what are Labours “funded and costed spending commitments” then, I think we should be told!

  8. Whoever is standing as a Councillor or MP will always criticise the other party in power. But I’d love to hear Polly’s ideas for improving everyone’s lives and finances. Surely one of the priorities must be housing – stop council homes being sold; find a way to reduce Air BnBs and second homes, possibly through really high taxation? Sadly, there is no easy answer or solutions to the myriad of problems we have and whoever is in opposition is going to blame it all on the other party in government – it’s the easiest thing to do.

    Yes, the country is in a mess but we are far from the only ones – look at what’s just happened in the Dutch elections and the reasons for the far right having won. Huge problems in France, Germany, Italy, Sweden to name just a few countries close to us.

    • Adam my guess is Labour may win the next General Election because they are not Tory! Thats what happened with Blair, after 18 years of Tory misrule! Blair then went on to declare an illegal war against Iraq, that ended with the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people, in 2003, and he is a war criminal in my eyes. I suspect Starmer is Tory lite!

  9. When I hear the usual noises from the same old gang,I know the point is made.Checksfield must be one of the few that are better off.The fact is we have run down public services, destitution,food banks, a housing crisis, and an NHS in perpetual crisis.The COVID enquiry gives the lie, to any claims of competence.
    Blair had his failings, especially over Iraq, but you can dodge all you like about the banking crisis, the Tories were wishing for more freedom from regulation for the banks at the time, which some here find an inconvenient truth.
    I may be a rusty bit of old iron, but I am sharper than any of the Birchingtonia, pink or otherwise.Enjoy!

      • Stop worrying your pretty little head about it Ms Pink (AKA Peter Checksfield!) . Its because of ultra processed cheap food full of sugar, fat, and salt, found in most takaways, cheap ready meals. Also, carbs like potatoes, bread etc that are cheap and make people feel full!

        • That’s my point, takeaways and ready meals are far more expensive than properly prepared fresh food – yet they claim they can’t afford to eat!

    • Oh so conceited aren’t you Nr Nokes. You are so far up your own posterior that you are still looking at the sky and watching ‘Parachute Polly’ floating down from a Starmer airways plane.

    • You left out social care George, we oldies live in fear we may need help or have to go into care, and our life savings, and property will be sold to pay for it. But someone in the next room receiving the same care, and who does not have any savings, or property doesn’t pay a penny! This is still the case after the proven liar Johnson said he “would fix it” yeah right! Will Starmer fix it? Unlikely in my view, how about you Polly, any views on this thorny subject?

  10. This whole statement is rubbish to what the local Thanet Labour stands for.
    Point 1 Jobs, Thanet Labour are against the re – opening of Manston Airport, which the lost Pfizer professional jobs would absorb quite quickly but will be lost forever due to delays by local Labour Councillors.
    Point 2 Investment in Thanet, River Oak have already invested in Thanet and want to spend more money in to Thanet it has never seen ever, Thanet Labour against this inward investment.
    Point 3, Ramsgate Town Council have wasted thousands of residents Council Tax payers money on a wasted appeal that could not never be won, this money could been paid to those residents who are struggling to put food on their table, yet alone have enough money to heat homes for their families.
    Point 4, Food inflation, the amount of money spent by Ramsgate Town Council wasted on a appeal and crowd funding tens in not hundreds of thousands of pounds, wasted on lawyers, which could have paid for food in exhausted low filled food banks in Thanet.
    So while you pop down from Hackney now and then to Thanet, on the high speed train, that not many Thanet residents can afford to use.
    Have a chat with your new Thanet Labour mates, who have held Thanet residents back for decades, advocating they should be doing low paid seasonal work, when we could have well paid all year around employment that pays more than the minimum wage, the last excuse I heard from a local Labour councillor “all the work will be done by robots” well who will run, repair these robots, Robots or humans getting well paid to do so for example.

    • I think you’ve lost the plot.
      Labour has nothing to do with whether Manston opens or not. That’s a decision made by the SoS. But even if it did open, it would only produce a small number of menial jobs – h hundred or so.

      The amount that RSP has invested in Thanet is peanuts compared with the £8,000,000 they were paid by the government for doing nothing.
      RSP might want to spend “more money in to Thanet it has never seen ever”, but just whose money this is and where it currently is remains a mystery.

      The JR to which RTC contributed £10k was won. The JR was quashed.

      The tens and hundreds of thousands of pounds you mention was raised by thousands of people who thought that the DCO process was dodgy, not by RTC.

      Cargo handling in modern airports is highly automated. The number of engineers required to maintain the equipment is minimal, otherwise using the equipment would be pointless. How many out-of-work automation engineers do you know in Thant?

      • Andrew I donated thousands to fund the Judicial Review, which incidentally has yet to be heard! This may surprise some people but the first Judicial Review failed to go to appeal because the judge who refused the appeal was the same judge who heard the Judicial Review! A bit like marking your own homework! This will not stop the appeal going forward, so all those people who think re-opening Manston is over, are mistaken, its far from the case!

    • What a load of old rubbish.
      Shame it’s coming from a someone who obviously sits on the council but doesn’t want to admit it.
      You sound like the leader of the Thanet Independent Group – banging on about a load of old nonsense he doesn’t know about.
      TDC doesn’t decide whether Manston lives or dies. ~
      That’s the government’s job.

  11. No Laurence,I don’t think Starmer is Mr dynamic, and parachute Polly will be no worse than Craig whose ideas for the future owe more to a famous flightless bird than a Concorde of ideas.
    I have asked the all knowing prophet of Birchington for his ideas, and all he has done is to change sex and turn pink, why don’t you enlighten us with your grand designs instead,or perhaps carping and insults are all you can muster.

    • ‘Carping and insults’ ho ho. ‘Grand designs’ that reminds me I must redesign the bird feeder stations in a minute to stop the the greedy crows snaffling all the fatballs. Much more rewarding than having a discussion with you Mr Nokes

    • To be fair – the tories have spent the last 13 years destroying this country.
      They deserve our contempt.

  12. One of the biggest challenges any incoming Government is going to have is reducing the financial reliance on the State.

    By that I mean, since Covid, millions of people have got very used to immediately expecting the Government to give out cash when something goes up in price. Cost of living payments. The first question people have when things become expensive isn’t “How can I budget to make ends meet ?”, it is more like “When are the Government going to give me more money to pay for it ?” Millions of people relying on cash payments from the Government just to fund the basics in life. What happens when electricity / gas prices don’t come down ? What happens when food prices don’t come down ? This is the “new normal”. Cheap food / drink and utilities are a thing of the past.

    It’s completely unsustainable but whoever puts the brakes on it is going to find themselves very unpopular as a result.

  13. Oh dear, reading all these emails is depressing.At 66 years of age I have decided not to vote anymore. It doesnt count for anything.

    • I would base my decision on whether to vote and who to vote for on the rablmblings posted here!
      I’d take the parties’ manifestos with a pinch of salt, and pay rather more regard to track records.

  14. It’s odd, I have to admit, that you make such heavy weather of this.
    That you can find nothing else to hold against her bodes well for her as a potential MP for Thanet.

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