Tag Archives: Greater Manchester

‘A Bed Every Night’ plan for rough sleepers SEEMS to be working – but is it really?

Andy Burnham: It’s been so long since he has appeared in a story of national interest that this image is from 2016.

This would be encouraging if it weren’t for the fact that the government’s ‘snapshot’ figures of rough sleeping have been proved false.

So Greater Manchester’s claim to have cut rough sleeping by 44 per cent in two years via its ‘A Bed Every Night’ scheme is questionable.

However: The figures available show fewer people sleeping rough as a result of the scheme – so it seems fair to say that, no matter what the UK Statistics Authority says is the true size of the rough sleeper population, the Greater Manchester model is doing at least some good.

Initially a crisis response to the ‘Beast from the East’ cold weather snap in November 2018, A Bed Every Night has developed as a co-commissioned service with investment from Greater Manchester’s devolved health and social care services, homelessness, and prison and probation services, and has supported 3,400 people since its introduction. The scheme also enables those accessing help and support to recover and move into longer-term accommodation and a life away from the streets – since November 2018, 1,250 people have done just that.

For those who have slept rough for a substantial period of time, Greater Manchester’s Housing First pilot works alongside A Bed Every Night to provide ongoing intensive support in a home of choice. Funded by £7.6m of public money, Housing First in the city-region has so far helped 84 people off the streets into their own homes and is set to run for a further two years.

The scheme seems reminiscent of the ‘Utah’ model that This Site has praised in the past: get people off the streets and support them back into a home of their own, and you relieve pressure on services like the police and NHS that would otherwise have to deal with them.

There is still that question of the real number of rough sleepers.

If that total is genuinely more than five times what the government has claimed, then ‘A Bed Every Night’ may have merely slowed the Tory-driven increase in homelessness.

But that’s better than nothing and suggests that Andy Burnham deserves the extra funding he is requesting. But will he get it?

Source: Mayor calls on Government to help fund A Bed Every Night as rough sleeping down 44% in two years – Greater Manchester Combined Authority

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Concerns grow over police force that shares info on protesters with DWP | Disability News Service

DNS has uncovered more information about information-sharing between Greater Manchester Police and the Department for Work and Pensions, intended to harm protesters with disabilities.

It seems GMP does not provide any guidance to officers on when it is lawful for them to hand information to the DWP on the presence of protesters with disabilities.

As a result, they fear that GMP – and probably other police forces – may have indiscriminately passed information to DWP about disabled activists, after assuming they must be committing benefit fraud if they can take part in protests.

Liberty fears this could have a “chilling effect on disabled people’s protest rights”.

GMP has now told Disability News Service (DNS) – through a response to a freedom of information (Foi) request – that a review of its records “indicates” that the force passed information about the activities of disabled anti-fracking protesters to DWP.

The force has also said that the amount of information it passed to DWP “is unknown at this stage” because of the number of anti-fracking protests that took place within Greater Manchester.

This is likely to refer to protests that took place in Barton Moss, Salford, in 2013 and 2014.

GMP said in the FoI response that this information was passed to DWP so the department could “assess and then investigate and determine if criminal offences had occurred in relation to benefit claims”.

The force said this morning that information had been shared under successive Data Protection Acts, but it has so far refused to say if it has any guidance that explains to officers under what circumstances such information can lawfully be passed to DWP.

If it has no such guidance, its actions are likely to have been unlawful, say human rights experts from Liberty.

This means the police are likely to have broken the law in order to pretend that disabled people were committing criminal acts.

Source: Concerns grow over police force that shares info on protesters with DWP – Disability News Service

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Who is Andrew Mitchell – and who does he THINK he is?

One would have to be a buffoon of the lowest order to insult a policeman in the same week two officers were killed while protecting the public.

So, inevitably – because the UK is being run by a gang of fools – one has stepped up to the plate and taken his shot: Andrew Mitchell, a former International Development minister, who was made government chief whip earlier this month and clearly let the appointment go to his head.

Asked to get off his bicycle and refrain from using the vehicle entrance to Downing Street (there’s a pedestrian entrance as well), Mitchell subjected the officer to a string of abuse, told him to “learn your place” and said “You don’t run this government”. The piece de resistance is his description of the policeman as a “pleb”.

It just happens that this word is still in fairly common usage where I live, referring to someone of low status and intelligence who will never amount to much. It’s often used humorously among friends, but I don’t think we can accept Mr Mitchell’s use of it in that way.

He is clearly a man who believes himself to be a breed apart from the common people of the UK – born to rule, and to look down upon everybody over whom he was born to rule.

In other words, he’s an over-ambitious, narcissistic, power-hungry git.

Mitchell has denied the story, but Downing Street has stated that he has apologised “profusely” to the officer. If he’s not guilty, why apologise? I think we can believe the policeman’s version of events.

The Labour Party has called for a full account of the incident, and police representatives have called for Mitchell to resign. I agree with the police. He has to go.

Let’s be clear – I’m not a fan of the police service, certainly not the force in my part of the country (Dyfed-Powys). I think they cover up their mistakes (not uncommon – look at Hillsborough), and I think they can vindictively pursue innocent people who have done nothing illegal (this based on the experience of a personal friend).

However, this happened in the same week that PCs Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone were killed in a shotgun and grenade attack in Tameside, responding to reports of a burglary.

There can be no doubt that these officers were genuinely acting to protect the public when they lost their lives. In such circumstances, a high-ranking member of the government insulting a representative of the police in the manner we have heard suggests extremely poor character, disrespect and low breeding.

Who’s the real “pleb”, Andrew?