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Reader Letter: North Walsham councillor on rise in rough sleeping figures

PUBLISHED: 16:17 10 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:17 10 February 2018

Elaine Addison. Pictures: Stephen Burke

Elaine Addison. Pictures: Stephen Burke

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Rough sleeper numbers rise for seventh year running

Homelessness in 21st century Britain, it’s Dickensian. It’s no surprise that since the Tory government came to power in 2010, homelessness has increased year on year.

This is directly down to the harsh new PIP assessments, the chaotic introduction of Universal Credit, a steep drop in investment for affordable homes, crude cuts to housing benefit, reduced funding for homelessness services and a refusal to help private renters.

Statistics published by the government last Thursday reveal that an estimated 4,751 people bedded down outside overnight in 2017, up 15pc on the previous year, and up a whacking 169pc since 2010, coincidentally when the Tories came to power.

Crisis said: “It is truly a catastrophe that in a country as prosperous as this, more and more people are finding themselves forced to sleep in dangerous and freezing conditions when we have evidence to show how the situation could be turned around.”

The North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) website tells us: “There is a severe shortage of homes in the North Norfolk area. Most applicants on the housing list will have to wait a long time for re-housing.

“Depending on your circumstances you may wish to consider other options such as renting in the private sector.”

But we all know that private rental can mean higher rents, with worse standards of accommodation, and worse rights for residents.

This is simply not good enough.

It’s about time North Norfolk councillors did something about this dreadful situation. Instead of suggesting that they act beyond their powers to pay for police in the area, they could and should invest the money in housing. Paying for the Police budget is a county council responsibility.

The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm, but because of those who look on without doing anything.

A Labour government will end rough sleeping within its first term in office and tackle the root causes of rising homelessness. Labour had two outstanding wins with the last two seats on the North Walsham Town Council.

We’re hearing that people want a change, they’ve seen the Tory infighting and quitting at NNDC and the Lib Dems haven’t gained any of the defectors, which says a lot.

Labour are making a difference locally. A Labour councillor at NNDC will hold your councillors to account for their inactions, and that is why I am supporting David Spencer in the Worstead ward by-election on February 15.

Please don’t be one of those who look on without doing anything.

ELAINE ADDISON

North Walsham


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