In response to spiralling numbers of homeless families and the third death of a rough sleeper in MK, Cllr Pete Marland, Leader of the Council and Cllr Nigel Long said that the government didn’t care about the plight of the homeless in Milton Keynes. They drew that conclusion because their bid for £2m to provide 50 units for homeless and vulnerable people had been turned down.
MK Conservatives have reacted strongly saying this was no more than a PR stunt from Labour in an attempt to divert attention from their poor record in tackling homelessness.
Cllr Hiten Ganatra, Conservative spokesperson for housing said “It is regrettable but not surprising that their bid was unsuccessful, given how this Labour council presented their case to the Minister. The nub of their request of funds was completely missed in the letter and instead focussed more on how prosperous Milton Keynes is. It would have been grossly irresponsible for the government to hand over £2m of public money based on this bid.”
Conservative Group Leader Edith Bald added “The Labour Council are conveniently blaming central government for failing to provide funds, whilst at the same time wasting £millions themselves on vanity projects like refurbishment of the council offices. Last year Labour councillors had their eye off the ball and failed to bid for substantial funds available for homeless initiatives. When they realised that they had missed the deadline they put in a very poor bid which failed. This smacks of incompetence and when it affects people’s lives like homelessness does, I think it is disgraceful”.
She added “Homelessness is a top priority for Theresa May’s government and for conservatives in MK. Sajid Javid, Minister of State for Communities and Local Government, has announced £40m of new funds for councils to provide assistance for rough sleepers. The deadline for bids is 28 November. I understand that this time the Council will be putting in a strong bid. Conservatives will be putting their full weight behind it.”