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Town Council's Defamation Incompetence

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On 20 Apr 2013 at 1:03pm Wasted Money wrote:
I see from the Sussex Express that our Town Councillors have lost an undisclosed sum of hard earned tax payers money due to a successful and reasonable defamation action against them. This really is extraordinarily incompetent. It is fascinating reading this old Forum post (below) , which popped up when I Googled for the Council's required apology on their website.
I would also like to know who was responsible for writing the Council's original malicious nonsense, and which Councillors supported it? There are reasons why malicious gossip, chit chat, rumour and guesswork should be excluded from professional decision making, and it would be nice to hear from Councillors what they have learned about making proper decisions based on fact.
Of course , a decent, unbiased local newspaper ...would have asked them!
..........

I have read an article in the Express quoting Town Council views about Cinemas in Lewes.
Bearing in mind that you can't always believe what your read in the papers, I wonder if this extraordinarily inappropriate response that purportedly originates from his Council, is really what tax payers should be getting for their money?
I have no interest in the Lewes Cinemas, just a concern that my money is spent wisely, and that we all benefit from how it is spent.
The article does not address why neither the tenant (Lewes Cinema) was consulted, nor more importantly the audience/potential customers of any service. However, it does go on to quote audience figures, profit predictions, and interpretations of rental arrangements without explaining where this information could possibly have originated without consultation Has the Council been secretly counting audience members, the takings, and mind reading the audience to find out what they like?
In the absence of any factual explanation as to why Lewes Cinema will not be allowed to continue showing films, we read instead rather nasty minded comments about tatty seating, a view that Lewes Cinema is at fault for not making better tenancy arrangements (were they offered any?) , a claim that they are avoiding Business rates (is this true?) and that this has significance (does it?), and bizarre remarks about how local you need to be to qualify as a local business. This is in the context of an audience that has travelled (according to a petition) from as far away as Japan, to enjoy the experience that a Sussex based business is offering.
I am not from Lewes, and do not live here all the time, but I have a business, happily pay my tax and fund the All Saints Centre. Should I also be driven out of town too, as being 'not local enough'. Perhaps the Councillors could provide a boundary drawn on a map to define what is meant by 'local'?
I am astonished by the tone of the Council's response to increasing criticism. It is nasty, aggressive, ill informed and completely misses the points that have upset audiences, and tax payers. The Council can disagree with Lewes Cinema, without adopting this vexatious strategy. Lewes cinema are independent of the tax payer, so can do, and say what they like. I really do not care. They can run services, or not, and lose their preferred premises. I am not interested in private companies.
However, the Council is a tax payer funded public body, that should follow proper procedures , act properly, fairly, impartially, openly, and professionally. They certainly should not publicly attempt to discredit a tax paying business, whose services they want to replace, with their own. Especially by doing it in such a way that they risk public money on possible libel litigation.
Does the Council not understand the dangerous position they have just placed themselves in? They are publicly accusing a competitor of misleading people, providing poor service, and having no business skills. If I was Lewes Cinema, I would be having a word with a lawyer about defamation action. Indeed, i would be having a word with a lawyer anyway. Did the Council take legal advice before providing such views to the Press?
No public body should endorse such a shoddy article. So I would like to ask John Stockdale, ( a regular Forum contribute, who did not apparently vote for this ambitious move into the Cinema business) Which of his colleagues on the Council did provide this response from the Council? And does the Town Council endorse what was published in their name.
I have just received this years tax bill. I am paying £106 for a Council that has seemingly supplied defamatory views about a business, for publication in a newspaper. This is certainly not a debate about cinemas for me, it is about the level of competence it has revealed in a Town Council.
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On 21 Apr 2013 at 7:17am Yawn.... wrote:
Did Lewes Cinema really only pay £106 tax?
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On 22 Apr 2013 at 3:26pm Economics lesson. wrote:
I don't know Yawn, but tax payable is based on profits - so I guess one thing informs the other?
 
 
On 23 Apr 2013 at 11:59am belladonna wrote:
I've looked on both sussex express and the town council website and can't find what you referring to, 'wasted money'. Can you post links plse ?
I'm amazed that no one else on this forum appears interested in this - surely this sort of issue is what the forum should be about - holding our locally elected reps to account and demanding answers.
 
 
On 23 Apr 2013 at 2:44pm another one wrote:
Belladonna the Sussex Express usually puts it's main stories on it's website a few days after the paper comes out - presumably so people still buy the paper. So I would imagine the stuff that 'wasted money' is referring to should pop-up on the Sussex Express website soon? i'm sure somebody will post a link here when it does.
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On 23 Apr 2013 at 10:18pm Expat Two wrote:
I don't think this is necessarily Lewes Cinema's comment being reposted, but that aside - if you shift all your profit offshore, its incredibly easy to reduce a business tax bill to just 106 pounds. That's what businesses do, it's a perfectly legal tax loophole that the Tories have no intention of closing. God knows most politicians have business interests that avoid paying tax that way.
As I said, I'm not really convinced its from Lewes Cinema, but the indignant expectations of entitlement having coughed up a paltry 106 pounds smacks of the business community's attitude.
 
 
On 25 Apr 2013 at 5:28pm belladonna wrote:
I think the 106 pounds refers to the town council element of council tax per household, not to the business tax (or otherwise) paid by Lewes cinema.


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