Monday 18 July 2011

Letter 29: Alongside Hackgate, can you hear the homeless timebomb ticking?

Here's another one that seems to have been sidelined due to the News International story: homelessness. Many people will have cheered on Friday afternoon when it was (quietly) announced that due to time constraints and concerns of Peers, the Welfare Reform Bill wil have its second hearing in the Lords postponed until the autumn. This followed division at the heart of Government: a leaked letter from the office of Eric Pickles outlining concerns about welfare reforms earlier on this month. Though a delay and legal challenges are welcome, the most vulnerable can't wait till the autumn to address the homelessness issue. We need to do something NOW. The recklessness and false economy of the Coalition's short term financial strategy has caused one frustrated charity chief to speak out. In practical terms that even the most heartless can accept, he makes a very good point that as consequence of cuts, the financial burden to the tax payer is likely to increase: the problem is simply pushed on from the charities to expensive crisis provision in hospitals and the criminal justice system. If this happens and the Local Government Ombudsman is as good as her word, Dave and Nick will wish they'd also paid more attention.

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