Tories should not take credit for halving Westminster's street dwellers

Having seen the GLA leaflet from Westminster Tories, it comes as no surprise that Kit Malthouse tries to claim responsibility for halving the number of rough sleepers in Westminster during his time on the council. But the truth could be considered somewha

Having seen the GLA leaflet from Westminster Tories, it comes as no surprise that Kit Malthouse tries to claim responsibility for halving the number of rough sleepers in Westminster during his time on the council. But the truth could be considered somewhat different.

It is the government that spent hundreds of millions of pounds providing shelters and move-on accommodation. Compare this to many housing committees where Tories were more than prepared to give someone a one way ticket out of Westminster.

It is the Tories in Westminster who had done much to make so many people homeless with the right to buy and homes for votes scandals, so for Kit to somehow see this as a positive is beyond me.

How many people were threatened with eviction after the bungles by Capita?

Karen Buck and the Labour group fought hard to prevent these abuses by the Tories and the government did it's bit to ensure funding was available, still they wish to find ways to penalise destitute people. Was it not Kit who stopped officers providing left overs from meetings being given to homeless people many years ago?

The cost to Westminster residents has been a loss of income, for the year 2003-2004 of £4.1million in uncollected council tax and nearly £3million in uncollected rent. Not all is the fault of residents not paying, a fair chunk of this is down to delays, incorrect decisions, lost forms, and incompetence.

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I work to resolve benefit problems and am aware of the failings in my own area, but Westminster's problems could be reduced if they (all councils) funded the voluntary sector better, enabling advice workers with an interest in sorting out problems to take the worst cases and look at the benefit issues that caused their debts. Many residents struggle to get good advice due to the inability to access advice services.

Gary Martin

Third Avenue, E17