It is hard to ignore the devastating vision of growing numbers of homeless people on our streets. Tents hidden away in forgotten corners of our city are the tragic consequence of government policy which discourages building social housing while at the same time having little care for those who are struggling. We have a system which punishes people with sanctions, ignoring the personal circumstances they may have found themselves in. They need help and support to get back their dignity. They should not be neglected and forgotten about as this government seems happy to do.
Tory Time Bomb for Tenants
Vulnerable people in supported housing are also at risk due to unnecessary government cuts. People with disabilities, older people, those with mental health problems or fleeing domestic violence are under threat of losing their supported housing allowance. The allowance is there to help these people live independent lives.
Paul Longshaw, lead member for housing, said "These Tory plans would be catastrophic. There will be no more new supported housing. Organisations would be left with no option but to reduce their care and support services for some schemes, or even worse, close them. The plan may not even save money because supported housing saves money by easing the pressure on the NHS and care services".
The Labour Party has fought against this cruel Tory plan. As a result the government has put the plan on hold. We will continue to fight the proposal because these people should not be ignored.
Under Tory plans many young people will be forced to stay in over crowded housing, having little hope of independence. The housing benefit for most of those under 35 will be slashed to the 'shared accommodation rate' by 1st April 2018. Even those who signed their tenancy agreement in April this year will not escape. Moving back in with friends or relatives, sleeping on sofas and floors, might be the only option. Some will end up as yet another homeless statistic.
Addressing the housing shortage
One thing we can do here in Salford to address some of the issues is to encourage the building of more affordable homes. A plan is needed for the next 20 years or the city will face a shortage of some 4,000 houses.
Salford Labour has a plan to create new green suburbs which will provide enough affordable homes along with the roads, schools and other necessary facilities our communities need.
City Mayor Paul Dennett said "We used to have the problem of a shrinking city when residents and businesses abandoned Salford. We have turned that round. We now face the challenge of accommodating the tremendous growth we are experiencing today and expect in the future"
Homes are desperately needed to match the growing population. Almost all of Salford's brownfield sites have been used up. We have many new apartments planned but this still leaves a shortage of family homes. This means we have to look at new garden suburbs or face a crisis of increasing homelessness, overcrowding and young families being forced out of Salford.
Mayor Dennett has vowed to protect some of the city's most valuable open spaces. These are essential for the pleasure and well being of Salford residents.