Launch of campaign on Universal Credit
This week Universal Credit rolls out in Northampton. It’s the Government’s flagship benefits programme that has caused soaring rent arrears and household debt during its trial phases.
So to help people in Northampton North avoid difficulties, Rt Hon John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, came to launch Sally’s campaign. It includes special leaflets, street stalls, advice sessions and a page in this website with lots of information, advice and links to resource. There’s also a short information sheet to download and use at meetings.
At the launch people from advice organisations and community groups talked of their experiences of Universal Credit and agreed to monitor the impact. And John Healey said that this was a unique campaign to make sure people don’t lose out.
Below: Sally and John at the launch of the campaign at Café Emm in Weston Favell shopping centre.
Jeremy Corbyn issues a statement on the Hope Centre
Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn MP, responding to the plans to evict the Hope Centre from its premises in Northampton, said:
“This is appalling and senseless news. I was enormously touched by those who work at the Hope Centre. I’ll always remember meeting an artist who’d lost the use of his painting arm but was encouraged by Hope Centre staff to learn to draw with his other one. He then painted remarkable portraits of the staff and fellow residents.
“It is literally a centre that provides hope to the homeless and dispossessed.”
CALL FOR GOVERNMENT INVESTMENT AS ROUGH SLEEPING NUMBERS IN NORTHAMPTON HIT RECORD HIGH
Sally Keeble, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Northampton North, has called for major government investment in homelessness as Northampton’s rough sleepers count showed record numbers of people sleeping rough on the streets of our town.
And she warned that with Universal Credit due to start it’s roll-out in Northampton on November 14th, more action was needed to protect people from the risk of becoming homeless.
Sally Keeble said: “The figure of 26 from the rough sleepers count are the highest since 2010. The last peak was in 2015 when 25 people were found to be sleeping on the streets. The figures excluded people sleeping in tented encampments. Although it is permitted to exclude them from the count, as the weather turns colder they are going to need a proper roof over their heads.
“The homelessness situation could become worse when the roll-out of Universal Credit starts next week. After that date people who are on a range of benefits, including Housing Benefit, and whose circumstances change will need to move onto Universal Credit. In the trial areas Universal Credit has been found to lead to a rise in rent arrears and housing charities have warned about the risks that lie ahead.
“Last week we were told austerity is over. So there’s no reason that the Government couldn’t put more money into homeless services.”
SIGN THE PETITION TO SAVE THE HOPE CENTRE
Please sign and share the petition to save the Hope Centre for homeless people in Northampton.
Here’s the link to the petition.
It’s a fantastic place that provides services for homeless people in the town. It was forced out of its former premises in Ash Street. After a strong community campaign, I got a funding agreement for the new Oasis House in the town centre. It was to provide a secure home for Hope.
But now Hope is being evicted. Midland Heart, the housing association which owns the building, has told the Hope Centre it has a year to get out. This, the housing association says, is in the interests of improving services for homeless people. The Tory-controlled Northampton Borough Council is collaborating with the Council over this.
It’s a complete disgrace and a betrayal of the promises given. It lets down homeless people and makes a mockery of the Prime Minister’s so-called commitment to tackle homelessness.
The picture below shows Jeremy Corbyn MP during his visit to the Hope Centre last year.
HERE’S SOME OF MY WORK FOR LOCAL PEOPLE
NORTHANTS PEOPLE DEMAND ACTION FROM OUR MPS!
Lots of people have said how angry – or fearful – they are about the cuts and changes to our local services in Northamptonshire. The bankruptcy of our council, the scale of the cuts, have hit lots of people hard.
I organised for people from across the county to go to London to demand that our MPs take action to get a better deal for Northampton. We demanded that our Tory MPs should make sure the Tory government supports local people. So far our MPs have stood by while the Tory Government has slashed our services and is now forcing us to pay £30 million to scrap our councils. A double whammy for local tax payers.
You can read more about the Northants lobby of Parliament here