- You may remember just over a year or so ago, we discovered that the Council had moved families into a local Travelodge at a seven-figure cost!
- While at the same time, people in Peterborough also discovered homelessness under the Tories at the Town Hall had risen by 200%!
Earlier this year I stood up at a meeting of Full Council and raised concerns, asking whether, under the Tory controlled City Council’s proposed Public Space Protection Orders, blankets, bags, and belongings of homeless individuals would be removed from the street due to health and safety risks.
Tory Councillor Irene Walsh responded by saying, “…if a situation arose that presented a public safety risk, then that must be dealt with. It was not considered, however, that the private belongings would be removed without need.”
It was then reported in the Peterborough Telegraph, that:
“Unattended items may also pose a security risk which cannot be overlooked, particularly in light of the recent terrorist events….”
In my opinion, homeless people already have very few items, and don’t exactly have access to lockers to leave their bits and bobs in, when they need to? Perhaps this is something the Council could offer?
Imagine returning after day of being alienated, to find that everything you have has gone!
This growing homelessness shames the Conservatives.
The spiralling rise in street homelessness results directly from decisions made nationally and locally by the Conservatives on pay, housing, mental health and social security.
- Lest we forget, it’s the same Tories locally who stopped supporting the work of St Theresa’s (a charity who supported homeless people locally), over 10 years ago!
This has meant that the council is supporting 328 families in temporary accommodation, creating a rising budget pressure of £1.7 million in 2018/19, expected to rise to £5.7 million over the next couple of years.
After 17 years of failure, the Conservatives in Peterborough still have no plan to fix the housing crisis.
“Homelessness is not inevitable in a country as decent and well off as ours. This problem can be solved, but it demands a new national will to do so.” – Cllr Darren Fower
Since 2010, house building has fallen to its lowest level since the 1920s, rough sleeping has risen every year, rents have risen faster than incomes, there are almost 200,000 fewer home-owners, and new, affordable house building is at a 24-year low.
- We need a City Council that will make the building of new homes, including council homes, a priority!
- We need a City Council that will ensure that local plans address the needs of local people, at present the Tories at the Town Hall still go against and contradict their own previously agreed policies, it’s bizarre!
I also believe we need to make ownership of land more transparent.
The Tories at the Town Hall have just launched the first phase of their budget plan, interestingly the consultation ends on 30th November, yet at “a Cabinet meeting on Monday 20 November 2017, members will be asked to approve the first set of proposals for consultation….” – So the Tories will be taking a decision before local people have had their final say?
“…we are no longer sufficiently funded by government to provide the services we want to deliver for residents and the 2018/19 budget will be the most challenging yet.” – Councillor John Holdich
Other interesting points this year are:
- When the austerity programme was first launched, local Tories described the cuts as with words like “efficiency“, now even the leader of the Tories is admitting the actions are “cuts!”
- This will be the first time the Tories at the Town Hall have had to put a budget together without their financial guru John Harrison for over a decade! (We’re STILL not sure why he left the authority the other month?)
“..the same time the council has seen unprecedented increases in demand for services, in particular those in housing need and adults and the elderly needing care and support.” – Peterborough City Council
Other bits to bear in mind:
- Thanks to the Tory Government’s austerity programme, in 2013/14 the city council received £55 million in Revenue Support Grant and this will have reduced to just £15 million in 2018/19 and then £10 million in 2019/20.
- In terms of homelessness, the council has seen a 200% rise in the number of homeless families requiring temporary accommodation in just the past two years.
- Senior Tory Councillors say they are lobbying government for extra funding and already have meetings set up with our MPs and have been in discussion with the Local Government Association, but I do wonder what there’ll be doing different this time and why they’ve not done it to date?
Have your say
- People are able to view and comment on the proposals by visiting the council’s budget consultation page.
Let me know below if you have any suggestions on what the City Council could do?