Crawley motion argues cuts to housing support services ‘a mistake’

Peter Lamb, leader of Crawley Borough Council
Peter Lamb, leader of Crawley Borough Council

Crawley Borough Council plans to ‘demand’ that proposed cuts to housing and support services for vulnerable young people are rejected by West Sussex County Council.

A Notice of Motion from leader Peter Lamb (Lab, Northgate) will be put before a meeting of the full council on Wednesday (October 17).

Seconded by Michael Jones (Lab, Bewbush), the notice described proposals to end housing related support contracts worth more than £6m as ‘the wrong choice’.

If approved, the cuts would affect hostels, refuges, support groups and prevention schemes all over the county, including Crawley Open House, which has said it would have to cut back on services, or even close completely.

The borough rejected the idea that it should plug the Open House funding gap, if the worst came to the worst, fearing other voluntary and community groups would suffer.

The Notice stated: “This council rejects outright any proposals which puts it in a position where it is forced to cut grant funding it provides other vital public services such as Citizens Advice, or going to other good causes.”

Fears were also raised that refuge accommodation for women and children escaping domestic abuse would no longer be available, putting lives ‘directly at risk’.

Last month, Mr Lamb said Crawley would not ‘prop up’ the county council, adding: “Everyone can see district council budgets are too small to plug the gap, the county council just doesn’t care.”

The Notice also warned of the feared knock-on effect the proposed cuts could bring, such as increased rough sleeping, street drinkers and anti-social behaviour.

It added: “This council believes the negative impact on community safety will inevitably place severe pressures on our already stretched local police resources, and the council’s own community wardens.”

The final decision on the proposals will be taken by Amanda Jupp, cabinet member for adults and health, in December.

Crawley Borough Council’s full council meeting will be held at the town hall, in The Boulevard, from 7.30pm on Wednesday October 17.

Members of the public are welcome to attend, and 30 minutes will be allowed for public questions.

More news:

Cars destroyed and houses damaged in Crawley arson attack

Crawley woman sentenced over counterfeit clothes

Robber escapes with £700 in raid on Crawley newsagents