He and I and a lot of elderly sheltered housing residents and their supporters have delivered letters to the three main party leaders twice. The response has been feeble, with no one bothering to give a simple answer to a straight question: "Will you commit to take action to stop Councils removing Resident Sheltered Housing Wardens and where the Wardens service has been cut ensure it is reinstated?"
Councils around the country began to raid sheltered housing budgets once the government removed the ring fence from the Supporting People budget. The culprits include Lib Dem and Tory councils. I have not heard yet of a Labour council doing this, but I wouldn't rule it out! In any case, it was the Labour government that has made these cuts possible.
The Labour government's response to the question has come via the Department for Communities and Local Government:
The removal of the ring fence from the Supporting People grant, on 1 April 2009 supports the Government’s clear commitment to provide authorities with greater flexibility over their funding. However, we would expect local authorities to consult on and communicate any changes they were considering making to the support services in their area.Since no party leader has committed to stopping or reversing the warden cuts, David Young has concluded:
We went to Clegg, Brown and Cameron on our walking sticks, Zimmer frames and wheelchairs, and the doors were slammed in our face. We urge all the righteous to support us by voting against the party in their area whose council has hurt us. We warned you, and we keep our promises. No wardens, no vote!I happen to know that David Young is not a Labour supporter. (I don't know about the Lib Dems!) But he has concluded that people should not vote for the Conservatives in Barnet.
Let's be clear, only the Labour and Lib Dem groups on Barnet council are committed to defending the resident sheltered housing wardens. Barnet Tories are committed to axing them. If this issue is important to you, weigh it in the balance when you are deciding how to vote on Thursday.
The Barnet Press carries the story in more detail.