Posts Tagged ‘Sleep-Out’

Bristol Mayor George Ferguson Goes on Homeless Sleep-Out

March 3, 2014

Mayor George Ferguson

Bristol’ Elected Mayor, George Ferguson, surveys the great city his administration is wrecking

The Western Daily Press this morning carried a small piece about Bristol’s elected mayor, George Ferguson. Ferguson had been on a sleep-out on the streets to call attention to the plight of the homeless. He stated that it was shaming there were so many people forced to sleep rough in the city, and was going to give money from the Mayor’s Fund to organisations for the homeless.

Well, it’s something. It’s a better attitude to the homeless than that of the Tory grandee, who said of them ‘Oh, the homeless? They’re what you step over when you’re coming out of the opera’. However, on it’s own it’s not enough. Ferguson has launched £90 million worth of cuts in the city, vainly trying to reassure Bristolians that ‘they shouldn’t be afraid of them’. This will have an immense effect on poverty within the city, as more money is taken out of the local economy and available services are pared back even further to the very minimum. Fortunately, he has not implemented the government’s bedroom tax, though there’s no guarantee he won’t in the future.

The cuts aren’t, of course, all Ferguson’s fault. Local governments across the country have seen their funding from central government slashed. The local news has covered the debates on Gloucestershire and Somerset councils about cuts, and Bristol is, in that respect, no exception. Fergus is nominally an independent, but he was previously a Lib Dem. Despite his resignation of his party membership, he still clearly shares their Neo-Liberal ideology and enthusiasm for cutting spending. And this is damaging the city. While his support for the homeless is very welcome, I believe that there will only be real progress, both here and across the board, with a complete change of attitude towards funding and expenditure. And I don’t see how that will be done without Ferguson leaving as well.