Councillor Kevin Price, Deputy Leader of Cambridge City Council and the Executive Councillor for Housing, has rebuked James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, for comments made on the BBC The Big Questions on a programme which aired on 21 January, 2018. In the programme, Mr Palmer, stated that Cambridge City Council had chosen not to address homelessness in its district so that it could use the ensuing results to attack government policy, and alleged that the City Council had not acted promptly to bring forward new housing under the devolution deal.
Councillor Price said: “The Combined Authority was formed to enable a strong partnership between all the constituent authorities in tackling some of the major challenges facing our area, and housing and the problems of homelessness are very much to the fore of those challenges. If we are to do this, it needs members as well as officers to work constructively and collaboratively with each other. I have written to the Mayor to strongly refute the allegations he made on the programme and ensure he is better informed in regard to the work the City Council has done in these areas and our achievements.
It was particularly hard to hear such unwarranted criticism about the tragedy of rough sleeping given that government figures released last week show that whilst rough sleeping nationally has risen for the seventh consecutive year, and by an alarming 14%, the excellent work done by Cambridge City Council and our partner organisations has resulted in significant decrease in Cambridge. This achievement against the national trend is an tribute to the work of our officers and a range of new partnership initiatives including some support and funded by the government. I hope the Mayor will now recognise that.”