The leader of Scarborough Council has said the borough’s poorest people are being “let down” following a cut to the authority’s homeless support budget.
Cllr Steve Siddons (Lab) has called on North Yorkshire County Council to reverse its decision to cut the funding it provides to the current external service provider, Horton Housing, by 44%.
Horton Housing provides support to 120 homeless households across the borough at any one time including helping 50 households in temporary accommodation.
Cllr Siddons’ call comes after says he felt “obliged” to take a decision last Friday to agree to a new collaboration agreement with the county council and the six other district councils in North Yorkshire to provide an in-house support service for homeless and vulnerable people.
Staff from Horton will be transferred to the council, though last week a Scarborough Council report warned that due to the reduction in funding redundancies were inevitable.
Cllr Siddons’ predecessor as council leader, Cllr Derek Bastiman (Con), labelled the funding cut as “frightening” when it was first proposed in January and now Cllr Siddons is hoping the county will rethink its decision.
Speaking today, Cllr Siddons said: “Government austerity measures continue to impact on society’s most vulnerable. The borough’s poorest are being let down once again by one of the richest counties in the country.
“I call on all the borough’s county councillors to insist their executive reverses what amounts to an almost halving of funding support for the homeless.
“The decision I had to take was necessary as without it we could lose all funding for the homeless from the county. We are being backed into a corner by them and the requirements of the TUPE legislation.
“My predecessor, Cllr Bastiman, has already spoken out against this and I look forward to continuing that work with him alongside me.”
The move by the county council to cut the funding will save it £600,000.