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Homeless Tax "one of most unforgivable misuses of power in local government history"

June 20, 2019 1:59 PM

Sir Vince Cable

Vince Cable is the latest to have his say on the 'Homeless Tax' row engulfing Manchester politics.

The leader of the Liberal Democrats described it as "one of the most unforgivable and deplorable misuses of power in local government history."

The Homeless Tax is a new proposal aimed at cracking down on 'aggressive begging' and rough sleepers pitching tents or sleeping in doorways in the city centre.

If agreed, the move will allow the council to hit rough sleepers with on-the-spot fines of £100, rising to £1,000 in court if unpaid.

Manchester Lib Dem leader John Leech has been leading the campaign to scrap the Homeless Tax.

An open letter, penned by Leech to Labour council leader Richard Leese, described the policy as "social cleansing" and has been backed by more than 7,000 people.

Whilst speaking with Big Issue Vendors in Manchester, Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable unleashed a heavily-worded warning aimed at Manchester Council.

Cable accused the Labour-run council of a "cruel and inhumane attempt to clean up Manchester's streets."

Speaking with Big Issue North vendors in Manchester today, Vince Cable MP said:

"Labour's 'Homeless Tax' is an utterly barbaric policy. If enacted, it will be remembered as one of the most unforgivable and deplorable misuses of power in local government history.

"Every single Labour councillor who has sat on their hands and enabled this policy to cause so much pain should be ashamed.

"This is a cruel and inhumane attempt to clean up Manchester's streets. I am proud that John Leech and the Liberal Democrats are leading the fight against it.

"I appeal to Labour councillors who, like the Lib Dems, oppose this plan to do the right thing and urge the Labour administration to think again. This is not a time for 'holding the fort' or playing party political games. These are real people's lives and anyone that doesn't speak out against this deplorable policy is guilty by association."

Manchester Lib Dem leader John Leech who has been leading the campaign to scrap the Homeless Tax welcomed Cable's comments:

"I'm very grateful to Vince Cable for backing our campaign and unequivocally opposing this dreadful policy.

"We've been fighting against this policy for several months now and it's great to see Lib Dem leaders both current and future, united against this awful proposal that does nothing except punish the most vulnerable in our society.

"Only the Liberal Democrats are standing up for Manchester's most vulnerable. Labour councillors must back our campaign today or risk implementing one of the most brutal policies in Manchester's history."

Last week future Lib Dem leadership hopefuls Ed Davey and Jo Swinson also criticised the policy.