LETTER: MP paints too rosy a picture over homelessness

robert Oliver (Letters, March 16th) says our local MP’s column “From the House” reads as though it could have been prepared by Conservative Party Central Office. I have to say I entirely agree with him.

Mr Stephenson, in the same issue, states he tries to keep party politics away from this column and then uses the entire column to attack the Labour Party on both a national and local level.

Perhaps Mr Stephenson, as Mr Oliver suggests, should concentrate on matters such as explaining why he voted to prevent people from reading the risk assessment of the NHS reorganisation?

I would think that is the least we could expect from our representative. In his column of March 9th, Mr Stephenson, when dealing with the issue of house repossessions and homelessness, states things are getting better in Pendle, and the numbers of claims leading to court orders being made for repossession is falling.

He then tells us how much the Government is investing to tackle homelessness and what they are doing to get the mortgage sector going again. I believe he paints a rosier picture than that which is illustrated by national statistics.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders has suggested the number of house repossessions in 2012 could actually increase and a staggering 45,000 homes may be repossessed during the coming year. They also predict property sales and mortgage lending are likely to fall in 2012.

The debt charity Credit Action revealed a property was repossessed every 14.28 minutes in the three months to the end of October, 2011. A hundred and one properties were repossessed every day during the third quarter of 2011. The national statistics on statutory homelessness in the last quarter of 2011 showed homelessness applicants were 18% higher than during the same quarter of 2010 and during 2011 applicants were up by 14% on the previous year.

In December, 2011, Wayne Forrest, housing needs manager at Pendle Council, intimated the number of homelessness applications locally looked like it was going to double in the current year.

A number of charities, including Shelter, have also given the view the reduction of housing benefit introduced by this Government for 25-to-34 year olds will mean over 88,000 people will face an average weekly shortfall in their housing benefit of £35.14.

They argue that at a time when rents in the UK are rising, this could lead to many people running up rent arrears and eventually being evicted. Perhaps Mr Stephenson could in future advise us of dealings “From The House” instead of using his column to give such a one-sided view.

KEN BRISCALL

Hopkinson Terrace, Trawden