There have been several letters published recently in the Lynn News addressing the very serious and growing issue of homelessness.
It’s a subject I feel very passionately about and one I have been raising with the borough council for a very long time, usually asking a question on the subject at full council meetings.
I find it bemusing that Ronald Mortimer claims it is being used as a political football in some kind of attempt to downplay the impact that successive Conservative government policy has had on the matter. It was very much political when Margaret Thatcher’s government introduced the Right To Buy as a party policy; compounding a housing shortage for people on low incomes. It was political when Cameron’s government introduced Universal Credit which merged six benefits payments into one, and which makes a claimant wait for up to five weeks before payment, pushing them into rent arrears. It was political when the same government introduced the bedroom tax, forcing more still into rent arrears and then eviction and it was political when the Conservative government withdrew housing allowance for single people aged between 18 and 21, leading to many more young people sleeping rough or sofa surfing. Combined with this assault are cuts to the vital services which would have provided the support to help people overcome their difficulties, whether they be financial or related to health needs. Cuts to the council budgets are also political and the ever growing need to rely on charity has been forced upon many, with charities competing from an ever dwindling pot of money. I’ve been one of many volunteers, helping out at the night shelter. Sadly this is coming to an end and from the start of April there will be, once again, nowhere for rough sleepers to gain a brief respite. The extension to the service, into a seven days a week service, is also set to end. I suggest that this too is political.
So, I will resume my questions to the borough about what they’re doing to alleviate the plight of the homeless, because, believe me Mr Mortimer, homelessness most certainly is political and the government you stood as a candidate for, are failing to do anything about it, evidenced by the fact that levels of those without a home have increased year on year since 2010, the year the Tories took lead.