This Saturday I will be leading the community walk from Dungeness to Folkestone to raise money for the Kent charity, the Young Lives Foundation. We will be departing from the old lighthouse at 9.30am and it would be great to see you there if you would like to join us . The route of the walk will follow the coastline as closely as possible and we will be calling in at the Royal British Legion club in Dymchurch at around lunchtime, depending on our progress. The official end of the walk will include a climb up the Road of Remembrance from Folkestone harbour to finish at the Step Short First World War centenary arch. Walkers and supporters are then welcome to join us for a well-deserved cup of tea at the Southcliff Hotel on The Leas, where we will also make a presentation to the charity of all of the funds raised from the walk. The Young Lives Foundation does great work with young people in our area, helping to refocus and turnaround lives. I hope you can join us in supporting them. Let’s hope we have a dry day and the breeze on our backs. You can also find out more about the walk and how to donate on my website www.damiancollins.com
On Monday I joined Warren Smith, the head teacher of the Folkestone Academy school, along with staff and students for their visit to 10 Downing Street. Their trip had been organised following the school’s successful appeal to raise money for CLIC Sargent; a charity that supports children undergoing cancer treatment, and their families. In May last year, the ‘Wig Wiggle’ film created by the students for ‘Wig Wednesday’ helped to raise over £500 for this good cause, and I hope there will be many more such creative projects in the future.
Last Thursday Shepway Council confirmed that it will be cutting its council tax by a further 1% for the year ahead. This is excellent news for residents and means that households will continue to pay less in council tax to Shepway Council than they were paying five years ago. Keeping council tax bills low is important for all residents, and with wages and pensions now rising faster than prices, this further helps with the cost of living. The Government has also announced information this week about the new Married Couples tax allowance that comes into effect in April of this year. Married couples can register their interest in this scheme online at www.gov.uk/marriage-allowance. The Allowance means a partner who doesn’t pay income tax – therefore is not earning at all or is earning below the basic rate threshold (£10,600) - can transfer up to £1,060 of their personal tax-free allowance to their partner – as long as the recipient of the transfer doesn’t pay more than the basic rate of income tax. I think it is right that we recognise in the tax system the support that couples give each other, and more than four million of them will benefit from this change.