Government must clamp down homelessness as winter approaches

At Mayor’s Question Time yesterday, local London Assembly Member, Joanne McCartney AM, raised the issue of rising homelessness on London’s streets. Her question to the Mayor comes in the wake of the housing charity, Shelter, releasing data revealing that approximately 170,000 Londoners do not have a place to call home.

The latest City Hall figures show that between January and March 2018, there were a total of 103 rough sleepers recorded in Haringey. Across London, this figure is 3,103, representing a 20% rise in those living on the streets compared to the previous quarter in 2018.

During yesterday’s Mayor’s Question Time (MQT), Ms McCartney highlighted the Chancellor’s failure in his recent Budget announcement to announce further measures to be put in place reduce the injustices of homelessness and rough sleeping.

In response, the Mayor called on the Government to do more to tackle the causes of homelessness, such as increasing the provision of social housing. He also agreed to write to the new Secretary of State for Work & Pensions asking her to put the brakes on the roll-out of Universal Credit and ensure that homelessness advice was available at local job centres.

The Mayor has made the assessment that to end homelessness in London the Government would need to invest £574m over five years into a broad range of dedicated programmes and initiatives.

Last winter the Mayor invested record sums into rough sleeping provision and he changes the policy so that cold weather shelters were open the first night freezing temperatures were predicted, rather than the third.

In the summer, City Hall launched a new Action Plan to tackle rough sleeping with proposals to double the number of outreach workers, provide more funding to local cold weather shelters, bolster the No Second Night Out service, and improve the access for homeless Londoners to vital mental health services.

Local London Assembly Member, Joanne McCartney AM, said:

“With winter approaching and Universal Credit being rolled out across London, it is sad and frustrating to see this unacceptable rise in homelessness.

“The Government had a chance to change this with the recent Budget announcement, but the Chancellor didn’t even mention the issue in his speech.

“At yesterday’s Mayor’s Question Time, it was positive to hear the range of actions that City Hall are taking on this issue. It was also good to gain assurances from the Mayor that he will write to the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions asking her to slam the brakes on the disastrous roll out of Universal Credit in London.”

You can watch Joanne’s question to the Mayor here; https://youtu.be/-SJFxoK0dzQ 

London Overground should be handed control of local rail services

Joanne McCartney AM today asked the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan to provide an update on his discussions with the Government to devolve the Great Northern lines to Transport for London (TfL).

An independent report by Chris Gibb, a non-executive director of Network Rail, in 2017 recommended that TfL take over the Great Northern Metro lines which run out of Moorgate, through Enfield & Haringey.

Mr Gibb’s proposal stated that it would reduce the risk to the current train operator, GTR, and that this could happen as soon as 2018.

However, the Government suggested that the decision needed “further assessment”.  The Mayor said he had seen a new willingness from the Department for Transport to engage in conversations and he is hopeful of progress.

Labour London Assembly Member for Enfield & Haringey, Joanne McCartney AM, said:

“TfL have shown they can improve their existing rail services, such as the Greater Anglia lines which run through Enfield & Haringey. They have proved that they can absorb more responsibility and deliver a better journey for passengers. The Government needs to listen to their own independent report and devolve the Great Northern lines to TfL as soon as possible.”

Joanne McCartney questions Mayor on appalling number of London’s children living in poverty

In November 2014 Mayor’s Question Time, I again asked a question to the Mayor on what action he is taking to address the shocking levels of child poverty in London. You can watch a video of the exchange here:

 

Continue reading “Joanne McCartney questions Mayor on appalling number of London’s children living in poverty”