Friday, 06 March 2015

Shapps warns councils to protect homeless

Housing minister Grant Shapps is to meet with local government representatives to discuss how to safeguard services for vulnerable people.

Mr Shapps has written to Local Government Association chair Baroness Margaret Eaton expressing concern that there should not be an increase in homelessness and rough sleeping.

Following reports that councils are slashing their Supporting People budgets in favour of propping up other council services, Mr Shapps has said that vulnerable people should not be disproportionally hit.

‘We would encourage all authorities to do as much as they can to maintain services to the most vulnerable people in their community in these economically challenging times,’ he states.

He also maintains that councils should ‘invest to save’ – putting money into housing services to save money later on from care budgets.

‘It is difficult to understand why some councils appear to be targeting any disproportionate spending reductions on programmes that support the most vulnerable people in their communities,’ he says.

Yesterday the National Housing Federation published a survey of 130 housing and support providers in England, showing 73 per cent have been told by their local authority to expect disproportionate funding cuts.

Readers' comments (7)

  • Joe Halewood

    Grandstanding by Shapps and political spin and chicanery of the highest order.

    1. If Shapps is so concerned local councils will use SP monies in this way then re-introduce the ringfence or at least re-impose grant conditions - or even advise local governement they have to account for SP spend and be monitored on it. Which of these three is he doing - none!
    2. If Shapps says as he does that local councils knows best how to spend SP monies then why interfere? Localism is a double-edged sword Mr Shapps!
    3. Is this the same Shapps that now doesnt want an increase in rough sleeping who said a few months back we need to do a REAL count of rough sleepers.
    4. The same Shapps in an article in yesterdays Guardian that said we are giving councils £0.99p for every £1.00 they had last year and this should be enough money (failing of course to accept that his partys HB proposals will see homelessness rocket and this extra need is not funded)

    The above are just a sample of why this is hot air by Shapps and why he does have plenty of ways and powers to enforce what he is saying local government should do, but wont do any of them - perhaps grandstanding - a favourite ploy by him should now become known as Grantshapping?

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  • Chris Webb

    and now Shapps the comedian:

    'I have this day issued a call to all Councils to work to protect the homeless, and the future homeless, from the worst excesses of government policy. I am appalled to find that Councils are implementing the policies of my Ministery and my colleagues without any fight or oppostion. It is an appalling lack of democracy on their part.'

    Maybe he should take the matter up urgently with the Housing Minster, perhaps calling for a more realistic settlement for local authorities, and enabling the meeting of housing need with the increase in supply of affordable rented homes!

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  • Chris Webb

    Perhaps, once Shapps's policies become fully established, Councils could herd the homeless into groups of around 1,000 per borough - thus protecting them through the old law of the jungle that there is safety in numbers.
    God bless you Housing Minister for aiming to portect the homeless by increasing their numbers - what a shinning star you are.

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  • abner arrow

    Can someone open the window I can no more stand the stink of ministerial air discharges...

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  • Norman Blunt

    At risk of repeating what others have said before, it really is extraordinary how Shapps can have the brass face to make these comments, while ignoring the part that he and his government have played in causing - or at least significantly exacerbating - the problem.

    Cut the national Supporting People budget by 12%, but have no ringfence in place around that budget at local level, and then wring your hands when local authorities - in whose favour you advocate the localism mantra - choose to exercise their localist policy by slashing their SP spend by 30%, 40%, even 67% in one reported case.

    Get a grip Shapps: what did you expect to happen? Are you really that dumb? I for one don't believe so. And if I'm right, then what a cynic that makes you, even by the standards of current British politics.

    And what is your real agenda?

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  • Comments such as these by Shapps are, I suspect, designed for reporting by the right wing press. It shows that the caring government is being undermined by the nasty, naughty, Bolshie councils. I am sure his message will have been cleared first by Mr Murdoch... I gather Rupe's quality control on what ministers say is all done automatically now through electronic equipment, with administration kindly provided to News International by the Metropolitan Police.

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  • Afzal Shabir

    I am sure everyone knows the real agenda - Make cuts to the government budget to offset investments made to banks on the back of their losses on the open market and at the same time let the bankers keep creaming off any profits without them being injected back into the public sector / government through tax avoidance schemes and general hypocrisy.

    Is that agenda clear enough for you or do you want me to rephrase it?

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