Hastings Borough Council and the admirable Surviving Streets UK are working in partnership so they can use Churchwood House as offices and a
base for their foodbank. As Peter Chowney, leader of Hastings Borough Council said, “I am delighted we’ve been able to come to an agreement with Surviving the Streets UK to use this building for the next year. The help they offer to homeless people and households in our more deprived communities is invaluable. It’s shocking that in the fifth richest country in the world more and more people are having to rely on food banks and charities to survive, and that the welfare system fails to ensure that everyone has enough food for their family. Without these efforts and donations from volunteers, many families would find it impossible to cope. They provide a vital service.”

Well that’s all very well, but who keeps an eye on the unscrupulous private sector which has complete responsibility for determining how much it costs to rent accomodation? A friend of Lobbytroll’s has been looking at one bedroom flats in Hastings. Nothing of tolerable value can be found under £550 per month, and worse, I have seen single rooms in shared houses advertised for not much less. A single room for £500 a month? At this point, the question what is going on?, becomes entirely rhetorical. What is going on is an inflationary stampede towards local housing being utterly unaffordable to local people, conducted by a group of self-interested bubble-creators whose notion of affordable housing is entirely governed by the amount of money they can suck out of the system before it is completely exhausted. Did I mention the politically untouchable sector known as estate agents? Surely not.

On a recent episode of BBC Radio 4’s programme Any Questions, the first item concerned whether Chris Grayling, the human vacuum, should be forced out of his sixth botched job. The replies from the panel were cagey, citing “a colleague and personal friend” etc; nevertheless, a majority concluded that the ridiculously inept ex-radio producer ought to be given his P45. A lone, shrill voice piped up in his defence, much to the amusement of the BBC audience, can you guess who it was? Yes, the brown-tongued hard Brexit ‘n cheese enthusiast and Chief Secretary To The Treasury Liz Truss leapt into action to protect the tattered reputation of the poor man, who has, to date, thrown away £2.7 billion (!!!) of public money in a series of political blunders so gross they are destined to go down in parliamentary history. 

At the conclusion of pier owner Abid Gulzar’s court appearance on February 27th, which you can read about elsewhere in this newspaper and which was sadly unattended by any of his supporters, he approached HIP’s reporters in the public gallery and in full view of the bench, asked them where they were from. When they informed him, he threatened this newspaper with “serious court action” (sic) because we have “printed things which are not true”. Let us set the record straight; everything we have reported vis a vis the Hastings pier situation is the truth, and we have unassailable proof. Should Mr. Gulzar, or his trusty sidekick, crime scene investigator and dispenser of fake news The Laird of McLean (also absent) wish to challenge that truth with some “serious court action”, we welcome it. Let’s face it, after the farcical travesty of the pier sale, and the circumstances which have led to its extended closure, the people of Hastings could do with a good laugh.

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