Failure to help people in need

From: Stephen Hardy, George Close, Robertsbridge

In a report to the Rother Scrutiny Committee on Monday on the operation of the Housing Benefit system, council officers had to confirm that in this area, Rother’s performance is among the lowest of all councils. When dealing with new claims, Rother now takes on average 35 days to process a claim, whereas the national average for similar District councils is only 21 days.

Worse still is the fact it takes Rother 23 days to process a change of circumstances, whereas other councils manage this in nine days. The report does give reasons for this woeful failure to deal with people in real distress and need.

They admit there is not enough properly trained staff and there is a high volume of work. The real reason, however, is the reluctance of the Conservative-controlled Rother council to raise enough revenue by way of council tax to pay for this essential service to our citizens.

Rother (Conservative controlled for the last 20 years) in its current Corporate Plan says ‘First and foremost our strategy over the next seven years is to continue to drive through our vision for improvements to the quality of life in Rother’

Clearly that does not apply to those unfortunate enough to have to claim housing benefits from Rother.