Monday, 23 December 2013

Council raises concerns over G4S contract for asylum seekers

Leeds City Council has raised concerns over the G4S contract for asylum seekers and support for accommodation as significant council tax arrears build up.

Central Government awarded the contract to provide accommodation and support to asylum seekers in Yorkshire and Humber to G4S earlier this year. The company in turn contracted Cascade Homes Group Ltd to provide the housing support.

Since taking on the contact, Cascade Homes Group Ltd have not been paying council tax on the properties they are providing as part of this contract, and have built up significant arrears.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, leader of Leeds City Council said:

“It is a major concern that this has happened, and we are continuing to take recovery action to claim back the money the council is entitled to.

“Every landlord in the city has a responsibility to pay council tax and ensure payments are kept up to date, and is it disappointing and unacceptable that a contract funded by public money has got to this stage.

“Along with this, we have the welfare of the asylum seekers currently being housed to think of, and are currently in talks with G4S to ascertain their future plans.”
ENDS


For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk

New Year price freeze to encourage an active start to 2014


Caption: Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council's executive member for leisure and skills with Holt Park Active centre manager Mark Robinson


Council bosses have announced a New Year price freeze at the city’s leisure centres in a bid to encourage even more people to get active.

Prices for Bodyline membership as well as casual prices for swimming, gym and fitness classes will not be going up in January 2014.

Leeds City Council hope the price freeze will encourage more residents and families to use the facilities on offer at the city’s 17 leisure centres, 14 pools and 11 gyms as well as helping them to take part in some of the 400 plus classes available.

Premier members can also claim free junior membership for children aged eight and older living at the same address.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for leisure and skills, said:

“Traditionally, we know that January is one of the busiest times for the city’s leisure centres, with more and more people wanting to come and get fit and active after the Christmas break.

“But we also know that these are tough times for people living in Leeds and everyone is feeling the pinch.

“That’s why we have decided to freeze the price of using our gyms, pools and classes in January 2014, which I hope means even more people will take the chance to start the New Year as they mean to go on by living healthy, active lifestyles.”

As well as not raising prices in the New Year, the council will also be continuing to offer Leeds Let’s Get Active sessions.

The free sessions are available at every council-managed leisure centre in Leeds, with activities also being held in community venues.

The programme sees one hour each day made available for free gym or swimming sessions at every council leisure centre.

An extra hour each day is also available at the John Charles Centre for Sport as well as Armley and Fearnville leisure centres.

Middleton Leisure Centre hosts a total of two hours of free activities including exercise classes and racket sports.

Since the Leeds Let’s Get Active sessions began on September 30, more than 15,000 participants have visited the city's leisure centres.

Leeds Let’s Get Active aims to encourage people of all ages to be more physically active, especially those in areas of the greatest health inequality.

For more information on Leeds Let’s Get Active, visit www.leedsletsgetactive.co.uk

For full details on Bodyline membership, including a full breakdown of prices, visit www.leeds.gov.uk/sports/Pages/Bodyline-membership

ENDS

Stuart Robinson
Communications Officer
Leeds City Council
Tel: 0113 224 3937
Email: stuart.robinson@leeds.gov.uk
www.leeds.gov.uk

Council welcomes response to consultation

Leeds City Council has welcomed thousands of responses to a consultation finding locations for new homes across the district.

The consultation was the first important step toward identifying suitable sites for housing, employment and retail use.

During the eight week consultation, from 3 June to 29 July, residents were also asked which local green spaces they wanted to see protected.

A massive 7,738 comments were provided by 6,434 individuals. 5,970 responses were about housing with 441 regarding green spaces and 166 around employment.

The site allocations report is publicly available at www.leeds.gov.uk/siteallocations along with detailed maps of areas being considered.

Councillor Peter Gruen Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for neighbourhoods, planning and support services said:

“The number of consultation responses should be welcomed. The numbers received show the process has real credibility and people were energised to take part. We recognise that housing is far and away the most important topic to people. We’ll now move to analyse the consultation responses in detail to get an understanding of what people would like to see.

“The high number of consultation respondents was down to its promotion in a variety of different formats, which reached a high number of residents.”

“We want to work with communities so together we find the best possible sites for new development. We will work with them during this consultation period and beyond to agree local solutions for sustainable development that respects local views.

This was the first stage of the Site Allocations Plan and the council consulted on a range of options rather than proposals.

The council will consider all responses to help determine how sites progress to the next stage – a publication plan. This will be consulted on in the New Year and all residents who responded will be kept informed as the plan progress.

The Site Allocation Plan will form part of a 15 year development for the whole of Leeds. It is planning for anticipated population changes and homes, jobs, education and investment needed across the city alongside ambitions for regeneration growth and infrastructure.


ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Dan Johnson
Leeds City Council press office,
Tel 0113 247 5472
Email: daniel.johnson2@leeds.gov.uk