We need more cash, council leaders tell the housing minister

BOSTON’S council leader and chief executive joined the town’s MP in appealing for more money for services in the borough.

The trio of Coun Peter Bedford, Richard Harbord and MP Mark Simmonds went to housing and local government minister Grant Shapps last Thursday, in a bid to make their case for more cash for the borough.

They told the minister that the borough’s population is constantly understated, meaning that the area is deprived of about £1.5 million in Government grants each and every year.

Coun Bedford said: “It was a very cordial meeting and the minister was generous with his time.

“I explained that the transient nature of many migrant workers means that official statistics are not an accurate reflection of the true population of the borough, impacting on services and the money available to provide those services.”

He added that although they found Mr Shapps to be very sympathetic, he told the group that there were no further resources available for local authorities.

However, he confirmed he would ask his officials to look at ways of finding some resources to deal with houses of multiple occupation (HMOs), which the council recently admitted it had no way of accurately monitoring.

Mr Shapps also offered to visit Boston for further discussions about the issues the town is facing.

At a council meeting in December, it was revealed that the authority believed that up to a quarter of borough residents may be unaccounted for in official figures.

In November, party leaders on Boston Borough Council signed a letter urging Mr Simmonds to raise the issue with Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and appeal for more financial support from the government. The letter asked for help to provide services in Boston, which have been stretched by the rapid expansion of the town’s population because of a high number of migrant workers.