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Southampton Liberal Democrats

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Benjamin Curd urges Labour to rethink 'homeless clearance scheme'

April 13, 2018 12:55 PM
By Southampton Liberal Democrats
Benjamin Curd, Bargate candidate and Communities Spokesperson, has met with the Labour Cabinet member responsible to discuss our concerns regarding the Labour-run council's 'homeless clearance' scheme, which sees rough sleepers evicted from council car parks by a private security firm.

Ben CurdAs previously revealed by Southampton Liberal Democrats, Labour spent £1680 a month on a private security contract during a 'successful' trial to remove rough sleepers from the Grosvenor Square multi-storey car park, which if rolled out city-wide would cost an estimated £8400 a month.

Benjamin commented:

"I'm grateful for the opportunity to present our alternative proposals to the Councillor, which would see the money allocated to this scheme spent on measures that will actually help homeless people. For example, £8400 per month would be enough to employ three full-time case workers or hostel staff, or even pay for a three-month residential drug rehabilitation programme for 14 individuals over the course of a year.

"However, I was disappointed to learn that as far as he knew, no investigation was made on how else the funds could be spent, and no local charities were consulted on whether the money could be better spent elsewhere.

"I was also shocked to learn that during the trial, no support staff were present when the security sweeps of Grosvenor Square car park occured. This means that it is entirely possible that individuals were evicted from the car park at night with no guidance and support as to where they could seek alternative shelter.

"I hope the Councillor will review this poorly-considered policy as a matter of urgency, and would be happy to meet with him again to discuss our proposals further."

Rather than spend public money on private sector security, Southampton Liberal Democrats would like to see the funds put to better, more practical use, with long-term benefits for rough sleepers and other city residents.