Wednesday 7 February 2024

Has he?

Homelessness is a big issue throughout the UK, and Ipswich is no different to other similar towns in having such a problem, made worse recently, by more people struggling to pay rent or mortgages and others unable to get the support for mental health issues or substance misuse.

In Ipswich, helping people keep off the streets is one of our key priorities and we have been very successful in not only gaining funding from central Government but then using that funding to assist many residents to gain accommodation.

Not that you would know that if you have received the latest email newsletter from our Tory MP, Tom Hunt. He talks bout other local authorities sending many of their homeless people they're responsible for to Ipswich. This is not something new, it has been happening for a number of years, we even had other neighboring authorities block booking bed and breakfast accommodation, even if they did not need all the rooms at the time. The local authorities may be seen to be shirking their responsibility, but they are doing nothing illegal - only people who could stop them doing this - are the Tory Government .Mr Hunt does seem to forget to mention that none of the local authorities sending people to Ipswich are Labour run. 

When we assist homeless residents, we do our upmost to keep them in Ipswich, that is not always possible and if we do have to accommodate people outside Ipswich, we ensure we speak to our neighboring authorities and explain why and where these residents are being housed. It is called working in partnership!

We currently have an old hotel in the town being used by others to accommodate those who otherwise would be without a roof over their heads, we do not use it as we do not believe it is the right place or that the accommodation is suitable, we have made sure other authorities area ware of our opinion about the location. 

According to Mr Hunt, we are not concerned about the situation and are doing nothing about it. Mr Hunt states: " The Labour led, Ipswich Borough Council are aware of this al and have done nothing to stop it. I have encouraged them to make their opposition clear to neighboring authorities, but they have refused to do so."

Now this is news to me - and I am the portfolio holder responsible for housing and assisting those who are made homeless, and i have never received any correspondence from Mr Hunt- so who has he spoken to? Not that I am surprised about his comments, he often made similar claims about the Borough response to fighting crime, when he had never spoken to me once, when I was portfolio holder for Public Protection. 

So if you are fortunate/unfortunate enough to receive a weekly newsletter from Mr Hunt, I would suggest you tale what is written with a pinch of salt as it seems Mr Hunt does not always have his facts correct and would rather use his newsletter to bash the local Labour run council than give residents the true facts about the situation.

What his newsletter fails to mention is that the Tory run County Council is proposing cuts to their budget that will see Ipswich lose over 300 bedspaces, those that are used by some of our most vulnerable residents, it may be that it will be the Ipswich council tax payer who will have to pick up the bill, and some of those 300 may find themselves without a home - maybe something Mr Hunt, would wish to take up with the failing County Council rather than bashing a council, doing their best to help those who are made homeless.