London riots + LibDems scrap Bath homeless shelter

Tony Gosling tony at
Mon Aug 8 18:44:40 BST 2011

Bath homeless shelter plans scrapped
8 August 2011 Last updated at 17:34
Plans for a homeless shelter in Bath have been 
scrapped by the council because of its £3m cost.
If built, the shelter would have housed people in 
a Grade II-listed building in the city centre.
Liberal Democrat councillor Tim Ball said he had 
asked officers to stop any further work on the project.
The plans were drawn up by the previous 
Conservative administration three years ago. The 
party said shelving them was "completely unacceptable".
Plans for the homeless shelter were originally 
drawn up by the council and charities, such as 
Somer Housing Trust, St Mungos and Julian's House in Bath.
In April, the housing charities applied for about 
£2m in funding from the Homes and Communities 
Agency (HCA), in addition to match-funding from the council.
According to the Lib Dems, the overall cost of 
project was in the region of £5m.
'Lots of opposition'
Mr Ball said: "The council was asked to give a 
commitment of £3m and as a result they pulled out.
"It was for a scheme they didn't have planning 
permission for, at a Grade II-listed building 
where there was lots of opposition."
The Lib Dems have said that, at best, the shelter 
would house about 25 people, compared to the initial estimate of 60 people.
Les Kew, shadow cabinet member for homes and 
planning, said: "This has long been an issue of 
major concern to residents and businesses in the 
city and one which the council cannot sideline.
"Funding for the project was already budgeted for 
and remains in the council's budget for this purpose."
The council has said it will explore other ways 
of addressing homelessness in Bath.
"We have commissioned a report from the scrutiny 
panel to look at the homeless situation to draw 
up plans on what can be done. We want a realistic 
report of what the council can deliver," said Mr Ball.

There is a context to London's riots that can't be ignored
Those condemning the events in north London and 
elsewhere would do well to take a step back and consider the bigger picture
..........Those condemning the events of the past 
couple of nights in north London and elsewhere 
would do well to take a step back and consider 
the bigger picture: a country in which the 
richest 10% are now 100 times better off than the 
poorest, where consumerism predicated on personal 
debt has been pushed for years as the solution to 
a faltering economy, and where, according to the 
OECD, social mobility is worse than any other developed country.
As Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett point out 
in The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for 
Everyone, phenomena usually described as "social 
problems" (crime, ill-health, imprisonment rates, 
mental illness) are far more common in unequal 
societies than ones with better economic 
distribution and less gap between the richest and 
the poorest. Decades of individualism, 
competition and state-encouraged selfishness – 
combined with a systematic crushing of unions and 
the ever-increasing criminalisation of dissent – 
have made Britain one of the most unequal countries in the developed world.
+44 (0)7786 952037
"Capitalism is institutionalised bribery."

"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic 
poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
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