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Halesowen and Rowley Regis MP in spat with local Labour councillors
10:33am Thursday 31st January 2013 in News
The letter snipes at the MP’s endorsement of foodbanks for the needy and demands clarification on his own tax affairs.
However, Mr Morris has hit back calling the attack “sickening” and branded the councillors “cheap” for making “cheap political points.”
The Labour party is in the process of picking an opponent for Mr Morris in the 2015 General Election and the letter signals the start of hostilities.
The letter, http://www.halesowennews.co.uk/news/yourletters/10197510.Open_letter_to_James_Morris_MP_from_Halesowen_and_Rowley_Regis_Labour_councillors/, states: “Your support for the policies of this Government is directly responsible for the current proliferation of food banks, set up to alleviate the economic desperation felt by local victims of the Coalition's divisive policies.
“We hope that you continue to support the local community and voluntary organisations struggling to help the front line victims of the policies you promote.
“The best way to achieve this would be to reconsider your own whole- hearted backing for measures which are promoting inequality and inflicting poverty and misery on thousands of ordinary people.“
The councillors added: “Over 20 ministers who are millionaires and many more will directly benefit from the five per cent income tax cut for the very wealthy that comes into effect in April.
“We hope you agree that to retain a consistent ethical and logical position you should publicly condemn this colossal tax cut, brought in at the same time as many working people within your constituency struggle to cope with reductions to their tax credits.”
And finally the letter demands: “We would also appreciate your confirmation of whether you, like so many of your own colleagues and political sponsors, will be a personal beneficiary of this tax cut.”
The letter is signed by Labour councillors Donella Russell, Hilary Bills, Ann Shackleton, John Tipper, Julie Webb, Sue Eaves, Barbara Price, Chris Tranter, Malcolm Bridges, Kerri Carmichael and Bob Price.
However, Mr Morris MP immediately hit back at the councillors defending the Government.
He said: “It is sickening that these Labour councillors are trying to make political capital out of such a valuable local organisation.
“I am proud to support the Black Country Food Bank by volunteering for a few hours when I can, whilst these Labour councillors just turned up with a Shadow Minister for a quick photo stunt and press release a few weeks before local elections.”
He added: “Unlike Labour, who doubled income tax for the lowest paid, I am proud that this Government has taken 194,000 of the lowest-paid workers in the West Midlands out of paying income tax altogether.
“While income tax for the lowest paid has been cut – or scrapped – the top rate of tax continues to be higher than it was during 155 of the 156 months that the last Government was in power.
“The Black Country Food Bank was set up in 2006 – before the last election – and its staff and volunteers do a fantastic job in providing three days of emergency supplies for people in crisis. They deserve better than to be used as a political football by cheap councillors trying to make cheap political points.”
Mr Morris revealed he does not earn enough to benefit from top rate tax change but recently lost child benefit due to Government policy and does not earn anything outside his £65,738 MP salary.