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Local Government Responsibilities: Public Services

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:04 pm on 18th March 2020.

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Photo of Ben Everitt Ben Everitt Conservative, Milton Keynes North 4:04 pm, 18th March 2020

I could not agree more with my hon. Friend. The job of local government is on the frontline. Any job of a public servant such as ourselves, or councillors or council officers, is to look after the most vulnerable in society. If we do not do that, we are not a society.

Speaking of the most vulnerable, in Milton Keynes, we have a persistent problem of homelessness, which possibly provides one of the best examples of partnerships between local government and the voluntary sector. I have been very fortunate to visit many charities in Milton Keynes since being elected to represent Milton Keynes North. We have a winter night shelter, the YMCA, the Salvation Army and, of course, the Bus Shelter, which is run by volunteers, with a full-time on-site manager. It takes street homeless people off the streets. They get a bed for the night in Robbie Williams’ old tour bus, which seats, I think, 18, but it normally holds eight clients. It was wonderful to meet the clients, to see how they access the service and how the service helps them get their lives back on track and into work. Milton Keynes has received over £2 million of central Government funding for homelessness and rough sleeping since Christmas, which is incredibly welcome, because this is a critical time to support those who are on the street. That is a good example of how the voluntary sector, charity sector and local government can come together to solve a problem.