By Bolton Labour Group
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A note ahead of this week’s (Wednesday, 11 October) meeting of Bolton Council; a motion tabled to highlight homelessness has been abandoned by local Liberal Democrat representatives.
The work, led by Labour in Bolton and the elected Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, is underway to intervene and support those on our streets, many of whom are suffering complex health and domestic issues.
There isn’t an overnight solution, however the seats that are expected to be left empty by the Lib Dems will no doubt raise questions about the sincerity of their claims and the lacklustre pace at which the party is moving.
It is all our responsibilities to keep pressure on the Tory government to take action on this important issue.
Bolton’s Labour Councillors highlighted the progress so far at the last council meeting, contributions were led by Cllr Nick Peel, Bolton Council’s Executive Member for Environment. He spoke about the prevention work that the council has already undertaken, alongside housing services, the NHS and the charity Urban Outreach, in spite of continued Tory government cuts to frontline services in the borough. “There is an issue with homelessness and nobody is disputing that. But we do have a better story to tell than some because of the prevention work that we have done,” Cllr Peel said.
During 2016/17, the council recorded 516 formal homeless presentations with a further 1,100 potential cases of homelessness that were prevented.
Public sector officals have spoken out and pointed to central government policy as a major factor in the rise in homelessness since 2010. The latest effort to stem the issue in Bolton and Greater Manchester calls on the government to stop its welfare reform in the shape of the ‘University Credit’ scheme, led by Mayor Andy Burnham.
Speaking after a recent meeting of public bodies from across Greater Manchester, Mr Burnham said officials from the public sector, including NHS, believed that the region’s estimated 400 rough sleepers could “at least double” if the rollout is not postponed. “It’s not done out of lack of knowledge – they know what is happening. They know that many of the people who went on to universal credit are in arrears. There’s a high, high level of rent arrears among people receiving universal credit. This isn’t just an off-the-cuff comment. They are deeply worried about it and the government needs to listen to that,” Mr Burnham said.
Watch the next meeting of Bolton Council on Wednesday, 11 October, here: https://bolton.public-i.tv/core/portal/home