Manchester City Council has been slated by its only opposition councillor, LibDem, John Leech, after the BBC revealed that it spent £10,000 on one-way tickets to 'get rid' of the homeless.
The one-way train tickets are supposed to be used to 'reconnect' rough sleepers with their friends and families but some homeless people said that they were sent to places where they had no connection, and those working with the homeless called the policy 'social cleansing'.
In response to the BBC request for information, Manchester City Council stated that it had spent £9,928 on reconnecting homeless people over the last six years...which led to an all-out assault by Councillor Leech, who represents Didsbury...
"I am utterly appalled at this revelation but unfortunately not at all surprised, it is completely typical of this Council's apathetic attitude towards homelessness" he said "Sweep the problem under the carpet and hope no-one notices - that's the Manchester Labour way.
"Manchester's homelessness strategy should be about getting people off the streets, not just the streets of Manchester" he added "All this is doing is shunting them from one city to another and without a strong support network in the city they are sent to, they will be left in an even worse place.
"Manchester Council has spent years refusing to build affordable homes, approving luxury developments, evicting and trying to sue the homeless, ignoring the rough sleepers problem and now buying them out of the city - it's a pretty lengthy record. The country's most right-wing Labour council has reached a whole new low."
The Salford Star has consistently reported on the attitude of Manchester City Council, particularly in relation to the eviction homeless camps and occupied empty buildings. Salford's Chris Blaine was jailed for two months after climbing on the roof of the Ducie Bridge pub during the eviction of homeless people. He was merely demanding a meeting with Manchester Council Leader, Richard Leese, to discuss homelessness (see previous Salford Star article – click here).
Last month, Manchester Council issued a press statement listing how it is helping the homeless, having invested £1.5million into services over the last year...
"Homelessness is a seriously complex and challenging issue which we have been working day and night – in close partnership with commissioned and non-commissioned voluntary sector agencies and other partners – to tackle" said Councillor Bernard Priest, the Council's Deputy Leader "We have put a lot of measures in place and continue to refine and reinforce the support that is available.
"The nature of the issue is such that there are no overnight solutions" he added, with no irony "This is established and ongoing work and the implication in some quarters that it is not being treated with anything other than the highest priority is wholly misleading."
Commenting on the one-way tickets, the Homeless Link charity's chief executive, Rick Henderson, said: "If a person has a support network in a different area, then helping them reconnect can help to end their rough sleeping.
"Simply displacing rough sleepers without offering support is not solving the issue, and at worst can exacerbate their situation, leaving them more isolated and at risk of deteriorating physical and mental health" he added.
See also: Manchester City Council Wins Salford Star International Award for NOMA Development - click here