Homelessness the priority for new Shadow Cabinet

Following this month’s local elections Coventry Conservatives have unveiled their Shadow Cabinet for the forthcoming year. One big change is the creation of a Shadow Cabinet portfolio bringing together Public Health, Housing, Homelessness and Sport.

The new brief will be occupied by Cllr Marcus Lapsa who has worked tirelessly for charities helping the homeless. This includes his role with Langar Aid where he’s helped to feed the homeless. He’s also slept rough to raise funds for St Basil’s, a charity which helps homeless young people.

A report to Councillors earlier this year said there could be as many as 638 people classified as homeless in the city and put the cost to Council at around £4 million. In the first three quarters of 2017/18 a breakdown in family relations (31%) was cited as the most common cause of homelessness. This was followed by the ending of an assured tenancy (27%) and domestic violence (12%)1.

Usually Shadow Cabinet Member portfolios mirror those of the controlling group. However Cllr Gary Ridley, the Leader of the Conservative Group, is so concerned by homelessness, and the public health implications, he felt there should be a portfolio which brought the two together. The move is designed to ensure the subject is top of the Conservatives policy agenda.

Speaking on the appointment of the new Shadow Cabinet Cllr Gary Ridley, the Leader of the Conservatives at Coventry City Council, said; “Homelessness wrecks lives and it can also have a catastrophic impact on a person’s physical health and wellbeing. This is often aggravated by difficulties in accessing public health services which just exacerbates the problem. That’s why I’ve created a portfolio that brings together public health and homelessness to ensure we tackle the problem holistically. I know Cllr Marcus Lapsa is the right person to take on this role and I’m looking forward to working with him to tackle this scourge on social justice.”

Speaking on the appointment, Cllr Marcus Lapsa, Shadow Cabinet Member for Public Health, Housing, Homelessness and Sport said; “I’ve been moved by the work that I’ve done for a number of charities in the fight to tackle homelessness. It’s made me determined to do all I can to make a difference and I’m looking forward to working with the Leader of the Conservative Group to shape a policy agenda that can make a real difference.”

The full Shadow Cabinet will be:

The Leader, Policy and Leadership                                                                         Councillor Gary Ridley

The Deputy Leader, Policing and Equalities                                                          Councillor Allan Andrews

Shadow Cabinet Member, Strategic Finance and Resources                              Councillor Ken Taylor

Shadow Cabinet Member, Children and Young People                                        Councillor Julia Lepoidevin

Shadow Cabinet Member, Jobs and Regeneration                                               Councillor Gary Crookes

Shadow Cabinet Member, City Services                                                                 Councillor Tim Sawdon

Shadow Cabinet Member, Adult Services                                                               Councillor Tim Mayer

Shadow Cabinet Member, Public Health, Housing, Homelessness and Sport  Councillor Marcus Lapsa

Shadow Cabinet Member,Community Development                                              Councillor Roger Bailey

Shadow Cabinet Member, Education and Skills                                                     Councillor Peter Male