Ben has expressed his frustration with the Labour- run borough council for putting up council rents by nearly three times the rate of inflation.
Ben described the council as 'ripping off the working poor' and 'subsidising their own political ambitions off the backs of those that can afford it the least'.
Join Ben in south-west Ipswich on Saturday morning. Ben will be chatting and running through concerns with local residents.
Afterwards you can join Ben and your local Conservative Association for a pub lunch at The Brewery Tap from 12:30pm.
Help is needed with stuffing and delivering leaflets. Please contact Bob or Olivia for details.
Ben in the Pub
Next Ben in the Pub dates are:
Thursday 6th February
Tuesday 18th February
Thursday 27th February
We are always told that what happens in the USA soon enough comes to the UK. But we also seem to be in the drag of a far less conspicuous nation, one that shouts little but spreads a lot of ideas: the Netherlands. Their famous policies on marijuana are now being adopted, in different forms, in several US states as well as in Portugal. I could go on - whether in education, health and social policy - the Dutch are quiet trailblazers.
Take housing. The Dutch have rightly been long-proud of their record on social housing: they have built some of the most interesting and well-designed new social housing estates, and have worked hard to ensure that everyone has a decent home.
So you can imagine the reaction when Amsterdam's Labour mayor said recently that troublemakers should be moved to special "correction units", outside their communities, where they can receive intensive support away from the people whose lives they have made a misery.
The row was immediate and worthwhile: it forced people to face up to the fact that in every estate there are a few people who make life intolerable for everyone else - from late-night shouting, door-slamming and music to petty crime, drug-dealing and prostitution.
I am not going to propose something similar here, nor do I think it would necessarily work. What I do know is that many estates in our town are plagued by just one or two families, who make a mess, destroy the peace and quiet, and worst of all make people afraid.
We have made progress in dealing with some, but not with all. Perhaps it is because the word of the housing officer does not carry the weight it once did: some will remember that when they told you to clean up your front garden, you did it sharpish or lost your house.
Let's have a debate here. Write to the Star and say what you think.
I received an email from the Financial Ombudsman a little while ago. Now, before you skip to the next article, let me say that there is already one interesting thing to say about that first statement, and that is 'ombudsman' is the only word from modern Swedish to be assimilated into the English language.
His email revealed a few facts more. During the last financial year (2012/13), 1,269 people living in Ipswich contacted the ombudsman's helpline - an increase of 69% on the previous year. He took up 721 complaints which required investigation from Ipswich, up from 412 in 2011/12. And here is the killer point - he is upholding more than half the complaints he receives - around 52% are found in favour of the consumer. As a result, not a few businesses have been told to pay some form of compensation.
The breakdown is also quite interesting. The top five most complained about products from people living in Ipswich were: PPI - 553 (up from 280 in 2011/12), credit card accounts - 28 (up from 21 in 2011/12), current accounts - 27 (up from 17 in 2011/12), house mortgages -13 (which was the same in 2011/12), and motor insurance - 10 (down from 14 in 2011/12).
By way of a diversion, we passed a new Consumer Rights Bill on Tuesday, which will - I hope and
expect - deal with some of the root causes of the problems highlighted by these complaints. So hopefully, the poor old Ombudsman will have less of his work to do.
All of which, I hope, makes you feel like the last minute of reading was worth your time. You see - never judge a sub-article by its title!