Northampton Decline and Deprivation Confirmed
I have written before about the shocking and disgraceful record of the Northampton Conservatives failing policies on addressing the problems of those who through no fault of their own find themselves and their families homeless.
When I last wrote on this subject (25th Feb 2013 Conservatives Record on Homelessness is Shameful) I argued that they had to accept responsibility for the rising cost of increased homelessness after ignoring the warnings from the Northampton Labour group that cutting £100,000 from the homelessness budget was the height of folly.
As is now customary the Conservatives rather than addressing the issue of having families suffering the trauma and stigma of having to live in Bed and Breakfast chose instead to claim that Labour were scaremongering and even more unbelievably in the face of the evidence said that things were improving.
Throughout last year the length of time families who were accepted as “Homeless and in Need” which is defined as mothers with children and /or pregnant women had been put in Bed and Breakfast for over the six weeks set out as the maximum by the Labour Government and continued by the current one.
“Things are improving” the Conservatives said, or are they.
The truth is that in November and December last year there was 19 families in B & B for an average of 42 days and at the start of 2013 in January and February 18 families were in Bed and Breakfast for an average of 46.79 days in January and 45.78 days in February.
What this means is that in the seven months from August 2012 to February 2013 the Northampton Conservatives have failed to meet the 6 week target which has an inevitable impact on the physical and mental health of the families and especially the children whose schooling always suffers.
What is incredible is that the Northampton Conservatives only provide the AVERAGE length of time that families spend in B & B which of course means that some families must be staying in it for longer.
Unsurprisingly but no less worrying in response to the question being asked I was told that the Council don’t record the actual length of time individual families are kept in B & B.
Worrying because even people housed in HM Prisons know to the day how long they have been held.
The problem is that the Conservatives apparent laissez-faire attitude will only lead to the situation getting worse.
We are told constantly that “Under the Conservatives things are getting better for the people of Northampton”?
According to the English Indices of Deprivation (provided by the Department for Communities and Local Government, Indices of Deprivation) which shows that in the overall Index of Multiple Deprivation of the 129 Lower layer Super Output Areas (LSOA) within Northampton they certainly aren’t getting better with,
Forty three (43) of Northampton’s LSOA’s in the lowest third of the most deprived of the 32482 UK LSOA’s of which 15 are amongst the lowest 7% of multiple deprivation areas in England.
Effectively when looking at the seven areas that make up the index of multiple deprivation, namely Income, Employment, Health and Disability, Education, Skills and Training, Barriers to Housing and Services, Crime and the Living Environment things have got worse in the last two years under the Conservatives.
Contrast the reality with the constant PR being produced by the Northampton Conservatives and the impact that the latest round of cuts to front line services is having and it is easy to see why the public are now turning against them.
The challenge for Northampton Labour is to continue to Listen to Northampton and support communities and families across the whole of Northampton to prove that they can and will put people first.
It is a challenge that I’m quite sure they are fully committed and capable of rising to and delivering.
Produced and Published by David Palethorpe both of 29 Russet Drive, Little Billing, Northampton, NN3 9TF