Council leaders clash over homelessness


MK’s political parties have clashed over Chancellor George Osborne’s pledge to combat homelessness.

In his budget yesterday, Mr Osborne pledged to spend £110million to provide 2,000 accommodation places for rough sleepers who are ready to move on from crisis hostels.

Conservative group leader Councillor Edith Bald said this is “good news” for MK.

Mrs Bald said: “I welcome any investment in accommodation for homeless people.

“Most people are homeless through no fault of their own and deserve help. Unfortunately last year the Labour-led Council saw homeless hostels as low priority and as a result many were forced to close and we have seen an increase in rough sleepers in central MK.

“Bed and breakfast costs have also skyrocketed as the Council has failed to get a grip on solutions”.

Mrs Bald believes that the answer is to replace the hostels that were taken away, to ramp up advice services and to build more affordable housing.”

But council leader Pete Marland disagrees that the pledges made by Mr Osborne will help anyone in MK.

He said: “The worst thing about the budget was that it fails to offer any measures to tackle the issues facing people in Milton Keynes and the Council today.

“We have a growing and deepening homelessness crisis in Milton Keynes.

“The number of people sleeping rough nationally has gone up by 30 per cent in the past year alone.

“While there was some money to help those most in need, nothing was done to tackle the causes of these issues.

“Milton Keynes also belongs to the two thirds of places in the UK that are now unaffordable to people under 25 to rent or buy.

“There is a silent crisis of owning people and families unable to rent or buy.

“People in work can’t afford a place to live. Yet the Chancellor did nothing to help kick-start building more truly affordable homes and the Tory assault on Council housing continues.”