“Irresponsible politicians” have been told to “step aside” after the Government’s homelessness figures released during the festive break.
The figures show that 50 people died in Greater Manchester alone last year, rising to 119 for the North West region and representing 20% of the country’s total mortality rate.
Across England and Wales, 597 homeless people died in 2017, representing an increase of 24% over the last five years.
Responding to the figures, Manchester Liberal Democrat leader, John Leech said: “Irresponsible politicians who have shied away now need to step aside and allow for a joined-up approach to tackle this crisis and the causes of it effectively and quickly; investing, improving mental health and local services, renovating and building genuinely affordable homes and ensuring that no one is left on our streets, no matter what the cause or reason.”
Manchester Council has been in the spotlight in the last year for its drastic lack of social and affordable housing, including one development of 15,000 homes – not a single one of which was affordable despite demands from the Council’s Lib Dem opposition.
In an astonishing interview published earlier this month, Manchester Council leader Richard Leese claimed there had been a lack of demand for social housing, and said, “Until relatively recently we couldn’t fill it.”
This time last year, he also described Christmas as “peak begging season”.
More recently the council claimed soup kitchens organised by communities and outreach teams are a “bad idea”, whilst also fining and trying to sue the homeless, spending £10,000 on one-way tickets to get rid of rough sleepers, the Lib Dems Manchester say.
Earlier this year, they were exposed again for refusing to build affordable housing and claiming the only way to tackle “offenders” is to fine them, and just weeks ago, Leese voted against an affordable proportion of a new housing development.