Swale Council’s cautious plan to tackle homelessness

Labour Group Leader Mike Haywood.

Labour Group Leader Mike Haywood.

Swale Borough Council plan to purchase a property for £180,000 to ease costs of homelessness.

Leader of the Swale Labour Group Mike Haywood says:

“We in the Labour Group are not surprised to hear that the Tory administration is going down this route to cut their costs. Homelessness is getting out of hand in Swale and the costs to the Council in carrying out their statutory duties have gone up by nearly 5 times in the last three years.

This idea of purchasing a property and cutting costs through rent charges has been flying round the Council for the last two years. We have often asked whether they really intended to proceed.

It’s essentially a stop gap measure, and, with one property, it does very little to solve the overall problem of growing homelessness. It is, to say the least, a nervous approach.

We are in a situation for the first time in many years where the Council simply cannot cope with the rise in homelessness.

This is a reflection of the failure to plan and provide affordable housing at the level required in the Borough.

My colleagues on the Planning committee tell me over and over again that developers are allowed to get away with failing to meet the social housing quota on new sites.”

Deputy Leader Adam Tolhurst adds:

Cllr. Adam Tolhurst (left) pictured with his Milton Regis Ward colleague Cllr. Tony Winckless

Cllr. Adam Tolhurst (left) pictured with his Milton Regis Ward colleague Cllr. Tony Winckless

“After years of doing nothing about spearheading the building of much needed affordable homes in the borough, the Tories in charge of Swale BC are now paying lip service to a worsening problem, rather than working hard to halt the growing issue of demand outstripping the social housing available. With £14m of taxpayer money sitting in reserves, this latest piecemeal move shows the Conservatives’ regard helping the homeless as a very low priority for them.

The Government lauds the current growth in the economy but it is those on the breadline, losing their homes who are still suffering, and this piecemeal approach by the Swale Tories is only scratching the surface of the growing homelessness problem in the borough.”

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