Letters: Ian Gourlay, August 14, 2015

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This is the reason why I left the council chamber.

When I asked the Tory member responsible for housing in West Norfolk a question, I was aware of some of the restrictions of data protection legislation. The question I asked was, did he know what happened to the people rejected from the council’s housing register, when the reason for them being turned down was because they had not lived in West Norfolk for three of the last five years or their families had not lived in the borough for the past five years.

I was devastated to think that someone fleeing a violent situation was left with the alternatives of being thrown onto the streets or forced to return to that same violent situation. I did not want to believe that the modern day Conservative Party has drifted so far from its roots.

I did not expect Councillor Adrian Lawrence to go into detail about individuals, but he should know, and be prepared to make public, if everyone who was rejected was given advice and assistance, and in what form this takes.

For example, there maybe times when the council offers individuals/families temporary accommodation with a registered social landlord who has properties in the borough.

But Councillor Adrian Lawrence admitted he did not know, and went on further to say he would not discuss this in public. At the very least I had hoped the council had an advice system in place, but obviously Councillor Lawrence was unaware. I believe if a cabinet member makes a report he should be aware of the detail and at the very least ask how, why, what, where, and when about all aspects of the report. If we are to believe Professor Roger Scruton, the original Tories were those who fought for the homeless and dispossessed in the 17th century. Councillor Adrian Lawrence’s response to my question struck me as being very uncaring, because it appeared to me that he was not even interested in the plight of some very vulnerable people, and the request of the council leader for me to withdraw the comment shows how far the modern day Tories have gone from their noble origins.

I care about people and I was shocked to receive such a non-committed response and I apoligise to the Mayor if I caused any disrespect to his civic office.

Ian Gourlay

Deputy group Labour Leader borough councillor, Fairstead