The seaside resort of Eastbourne has become the first town in the country to declare a ‘Cost of Living Emergency’ in the face of rising energy bills and prices.
Liberal Democrat councillors made the emergency declaration at a meeting of Eastbourne Borough Council on Wednesday 18 May.
The declaration came after new data from the Trussell Trust highlighted that Eastbourne Foodbank was the busiest in the country in 2021/22, with more food parcels distributed per head than any other Foodbank in the UK.
The emergency motion, put forward by Eastbourne councillor and Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate Josh Babarinde OBE, also called on the government to enact further measures to support struggling families. These include an immediate Windfall Tax on oil and gas companies to reduce bills, immediately restoring the pensions triple lock and immediately cutting VAT by 2.5% for a year to reduce prices.
Eastbourne Liberal Democrat councillor and Parliamentary Candidate Josh Babarinde OBE said:
“The Conservative government’s failure to tackle the rising cost of living has shamefully allowed this crisis to become an emergency.
“I cannot stand idly by while my hometown of Eastbourne is among the hardest hit, which is why I have called for the government and our Conservative MP to act right now.
“By taxing oil and gas giants to bring bills down and by slashing VAT to give people £600 back in their pockets, the government could stop so many families and pensioners from sliding into poverty – but they are not prepared to take the bold decisions we need to get through this cost of living nightmare.”