Council ‘should not be made to look uncaring’ - deputy

Wayne Fitzgerald
Wayne Fitzgerald

The deputy leader of Peterborough City Council says it is unfair that the authority is being made to look uncaring.

Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald told last Thursday’s meeting on rough sleeping: “There are a number of councillors in this room who call the council’s professional officers and councillors into disrepute by posting on social media, by doorstepping - in journalist terms - homeless people on the streets who I’ve spoken to.

“When the homeless people say, ‘the council don’t do anything for me, they are a waste of time’.

“I think you’ve heard tonight it’s complex about who you can help and can’t help.

“But also I would like to say to you, do not take the word of somebody on the street that says, ‘I don’t have a drug problem, I don’t have a drink problem. Because frankly they probably do.

“That’s a shame. I’m not penalising them or wanting to put them down.

“But it makes us look bad and our officers look bad when you just take at face value what is said to you and the media report on it.

“It undermines the work these people are doing. And it makes us look bad and uncaring. And I don’t think we are bad or uncaring.”

Meanwhile, the council believes the Homelessness Reduction Bill, which is currently going through Parliament, would place a burden on it “which would be very difficult to meet.”

The bill would make it a duty for councils to prevent homelessness rather than just assist people when they become homeless.