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Government criticised over decision to slash city’s funding while numbers increase
Bradford Council has condemned the coalition Government for slashing the district’s funding for preventing homelessness – at a time when official figures show homelessness is on the rise.
But the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has hit back at the criticism and said Bradford is not about to see a cut in its budget.
Following an announcement by the DCLG yesterday that Bradford will receive £119,790 from the Preventing Homelessness Grant in the next two years – a reduction of £75,210 a year – Val Slater, the Council’s executive member for housing, criticised the decision to reduce the district’s funding by 38 per cent.
Coun Slater said it was wrong for the Government to cut funding when Bradford was seeing a significant increase in the numbers of homeless families and individuals.
She said: “It is difficult to see how they can conclude that Bradford needs less.
“Last month it was reported that numbers of rough sleepers are up 30 per cent on last year, and more than a hundred additional families have been accepted as being homeless in the past three years.
“With the ongoing recession, massive public sector spending cuts and punishing changes to the welfare system more and more people will be at risk of homelessness and the likelihood is that the upwards trend will continue.
But a DCLG spokesman said some of the homelessness grant will be paid to the Council through a different channel and the overall amount will be the same.
The spokesman said: “The Government is maintaining its overall £160m a year funding for tackling homelessness and Bradford is not about see a cut in its budget.”
Bradford East Liberal Democrat MP David Ward said: “Certainly at a time when many people are finding it very difficult, this is not time to be withdrawing support from what is an increasing number of people.”
Councillor Rebecca Poulsen, the Council’s shadow executive member for regeneration, said: “We can’t just expect the Government to give money all the time. We need to look at what we can do as a Council and we need to be more creative in sorting out the issue.”
Juli Thompson, manager of the Inn Churches project, which provides 3,000 beds for homeless people in Bradford and Keighley , said the Council was working towards managing the cuts.
She said: “It’s going to be a big blow but the Council is aware of it. They are looking at partnership working with people like us to minimise the impact of these benefit cuts and the funding cuts.”