A Tory councillor believes that homeless people in Bradford city centre should be ‘grabbed by scruff of the neck’ and ‘dealt with’.
The comments by David Heseltine, a Conservative Party Councillor in Bradford caused outrage during a meeting of the Council’s regeneration overview and scrutiny committee. He said:
“The tramps and drunks sleeping in doorways. What we need to do is get them by the scruff of the neck and deal with them. People have said they’d go into Bradford if they were eliminated.”
He claimed that while plans to redevelop the city centre were all well and good, the investment had been ruined by the homeless.
So what exactly does Mr Heseltine envisage when he suggests grabbing the homeless “by the scruff of the neck” and eliminating them?
Why Councillor Heseltine believes that perpetrating an assault on the homeless would rectify the problem is a mystery. He would be better advised to encourage his colleagues to work towards providing people with homes, opportunities for employment, improving mental health services and providing interventions for alcohol and drug addiction.
The ‘Nasty Party’ Councillor said that he had spoken to people who claimed that they would not visit Bradford city centre due to the number of drinkers and beggars.
Heseltine is correct in his assertion that Bradford council – like many other councils – places the town centre aesthetic above the needs of those that live in and around them. However, his suggestions for dealing with the problem of homelessness are utterly reprehensible. These are people, not dogs or vermin to be disposed of to make your town look just a little better.
Most people are never more than three paychecks away from being homeless. Our elected representatives would be well advised to remember that.