Archive for Housing

Anger as Pickles green lights Grey Towers

Tom Blenkinsop, Labour MP for Middlesbrough South & East Cleveland, today (15th October 2012) expressed his anger at the decision by Tory Ministers to not call-in the proposed development on greenfield land at Grey Tower Farm and claimed “the process has become utterly pointless under this government”.

Tom said:

“Local residents will rightly be disappointed with this decision and will have serious concerns over the call-in procedure. Formerly, one of the strongest tools to ensure local voices get heard, the process has become utterly pointless under this government – now we have ministers saying one thing and doing another.

“In the response it is acknowledged that the development is “locally controversial” which downright contradicts an earlier statement in the letter about giving more power to local communities. Whilst disappointing, unfortunately, it is hardly surprising. Only a few months ago developers were making large donations to the Conservatives; now we find planning policy in complete disarray and borderline a free-for-all on greenbelt land.

“The Department for Local Communities and Local Government needs to get its house in order or this could be the first in an onslaught of poor decisions by Tory Whitehall chiefs harming local communities.”

Cutting housing benefit for under-25s is ‘yet another reckless idea’

The decision by the Chancellor, George Osborne, to revive plans to cut housing benefit for those aged under 25 has been described by Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, as “a reckless idea that does not take into account the complexities of those who need the extra income just to have a roof over their head.”

Tom said:
“Increasingly young people are finding themselves at the forefront of Tory-led attacks and this proposal is just the latest example. The Chancellor wants to paint a picture that those claiming housing benefit are workshy layabouts who are getting their home subsidised by the taxpayer. In fact, this could not be further from the truth.  Only 1 in 8 claimants of housing benefit are unemployed, whilst those fortunate enough to have a job are finding themselves in a situation where they need the help as their wages simply can’t cover increasingly higher rents as well as day-to-day living costs.

“It is very naïve of the Chancellor to assume that all the people affected are in a position to just move back in with their parents, no questions asked. There is a multitude of reasons why people have moved from their family home in the first place such as something as serious as domestic abuse to looking for employment opportunities elsewhere.

“I strongly urge the Chancellor to seriously look again at his proposal. In particular, to tackle irresponsible landlords who are profiting from those young people in desperate circumstances and increasing the Welfare bill. At the moment these proposals would severely restrict social mobility and increase the burden on parents to provide support for their children well into adulthood.”

Cameron’s assault on Housing Benefit for the under-25s ‘illogical and ill thought out’

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP Tom Blenkinsop, today, (25th June 2012) called calls by Prime Minister David Cameron to scrap housing benefit for the under-25s ‘cruel, illogical and ill thought out’.

Tom said:
“The Prime Minister’s outburst linking housing benefit with what he calls the “culture of entitlement” shows he does not even understand how housing benefit works.  It also runs counter to all efforts to see that young people find and take up paid employment. Housing Benefit is currently open to people on low incomes – not just the unemployed – and given that those in this age bracket are often looking to live independently and at the early stages of their working lives, Housing Benefit can be vital for preventing enforced unemployment.

“Cameron continues to suggest that the availability of this benefit is a determining factor of high unemployment whilst simultaneously forgetting two important factors: the lack of jobs available for young people and also only 1 in 8 claimants of housing benefits are unemployed. Perhaps Cameron should be looking at tackling the issue of excessive rents in the private sector and other issues surrounding the massive need for housing benefit before he carries out another unwarranted attack on young people.”

Joe Anderson, Teesside Young Labour member, said:
“Putting up these barriers the way David Cameron proposes will only serve to heighten discrimination and put more pressure on already hard done-by families who will be forced to support their youngsters into early adulthood. It just shows again that the Government know little of, and care even less, for poorer people and communities.”