Update from Eastbourne Borough Council Leader David Tutt on 12-Jul-21

With the 19th of July only days away, the end of wearing facemasks and other Covid related restrictions is in sight, or is it?  As the number of new infections is once again rising every day, the Government are passing responsibility to us as individuals, saying that there are times when we would “be expected to wear masks” without making it a legal requirement.  To my mind this is a Government opting out of taking responsibility.  The judgement that it appears to have made is that it is now acceptable to allow the virus to spread, as due to the vaccination programme there are now fewer hospital admissions.

One of the key priorities for us all should be taking action to address climate change.  This will mean being prepared to change the way that we have done some things for much of our lives.  If, however we fail to take action now, the consequences for future generations will be immense.  Eastbourne Borough Council is committed to playing their part in addressing this challenge by working to deliver carbon neutrality by 2030.  Three other East Sussex Councils: Lewes; Hastings and Rother have established the same target.  East Sussex County Council have however set a date of 2050 to achieve this goal.  I believe that this is too late.  In declaring a “Climate Emergency” as they have, I find it hard to understand how they can justify taking 29 years to deal with it.  I am therefore proposing that they change this to 2030 and take serious steps to bring about change.  The media can take much credit for helping people to understand the importance of acting now and if East Sussex make this commitment, I believe that the majority of local residents will support them.

A news item that caught my eye last week is the fact that there is half a billion pounds sitting unclaimed in child trust funds.  Child trust funds (CTFs) were created by the government in 2002. They were automatically opened for children born between September 1, 2002, and January 2, 2011, who received a £250 voucher (£500 for lower income families). The children could not gain access to the account until they were 18 and so the first trust fund babies were able to get at their money in September last year.  The fact that so much has gone unclaimed suggests that many young people may not realise that this money, which is rightfully theirs exists.  With interest, it is likely to be worth a few hundred pounds, so worth claiming. If you were born within the dates detailed above and want to trace your fund, you can find it using HM Revenue & Customs’ official tracing service.  You will need to register to get a Government Gateway ID and password and provide a national insurance number. If you have a trust fund statement, it should have a unique reference number that you can enter too. HMRC says it will send details of the trust fund company by post within three weeks.

Stay safe!

David Tutt

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