Press Release: Bournemouth Uncut brands Poole Council leader Elaine Atkinson’s comments as “shameless”.

Bournemouth Uncut For immediate release: 29/04/2013

Elaine Atkinson of Poole Council was questioned about the recent Bournemouth Uncut ‘Who wants to evict a millionaire’ action during her interview on the Sunday Politics South [1] show her response was:
“I mean, it was awful, it was an awful attack on local democracy, because these councillors are ordinary people who are giving up their time to do a job and help to their local communities, and frankly Bournemouth Uncut I have to say they are intelligent, they are articulate, they are organised, go and get a job.”

All Bournemouth Uncut actions are held on a Saturday or bank holidays. This is because the overwhelming majority of people that organise or come to our actions are employed full time. For Atkinson to use her platform to promote the myth that all protesters are unemployed, without any evidence of the group she is subjecting to these claims is utterly shameless. This shows how little she is in touch with the local electorate. Bournemouth Uncut is open to anyone who wants to join us, our turn out has been made up of a very wide range of professions, higher education students and those in-between jobs.

Kim Elkin of Bournemouth Uncut is currently volunteering at the Soup Kitchen at St Johns Church in Parkstone, she said “We care very much about our community and the people in it. That is why we do what we do. We don’t just protest against the cuts, we go out and help the people directly affected by them as well. Bournemouth Uncut is a fun, creative and family friendly way to engage with the public, and it shows people that there are alternatives to austerity. It doesn’t have to be this way. The bankers that got us into this mess are receiving tax breaks, and avoiding tax, while the poor are suffering for the mistakes of the rich.”

Atkinson claimed “councillors are ordinary people who are giving up their time to do a job and help to their communities“ In reality Elaine picked up £32,095 in the period 1st April 2011 – 31st March 2012[4] for giving up her time to Poole Council. She is in fact the highest paid councillor in Poole. Bournemouth Uncut will continue to do their day jobs and help their communities for free in addition to taking creative direct action in their spare time.

589 households in Bournemouth affected by bedroom tax[2] and 635 households affected in Poole.[3] That’s 1224 vulnerable social housing households affected. How many of these households will be able to move to a house with the correct amount of bedrooms? How many will find that the houses just aren’t available and have to pay the tax? How many will be pushed into more expensive rented homes, wasting more tax payer money? Do you know Elaine? We would love to know the figures. So far we have seen no guarantee given by Bournemouth or Poole borough councils to its social tenants that they will not be evicted if they fall behind on rent arrears because of the ‘bedroom tax’. Other councils in the country have given such assurances, but neither Bournemouth nor Poole borough councils have.

When the traditional routes of engagement with MP’s and councilors has been exhausted, and people’s concerns and issues have not been adequately dealt with, then yes, people turn to protest and direct action to get their voices heard, it is a healthy part of living in a democracy. To say that it was an attack on local democracy is ironic to say the very least.

Bournemouth Uncut is part of UK Uncut a grassroots movement using creative direct action to fight the cuts and highlight alternatives to austerity.

###ENDS###

For more information and interviews:
Email: BournemouthUncut@riseup.net

Call 07596 388 848

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01rxx34/Sunday_Politics_South_28_04_2013/
[2] https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/total_households_affected_by_bed_2
[3] https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/total_households_affected_by_bed
[4] http://www.boroughofpoole.com/your-council/councillors/members-allowances/?locale=en

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