In a jaw-dropping press conference today, Andy Burnham said Labour would 'never criminalise the homeless' just days after the region's leading Labour council pushed forward with plans to FINE rough sleepers.
Manchester Council is in the midst of a row over a Homeless Tax. The immensely unpopular proposals aimed at cracking down on 'aggressive begging' and rough sleepers pitching tents or sleeping in doorways in the city centre included hitting rough sleepers with on-the-spot fines of £100, rising to £1,000 in court if unpaid.
The Lib Dems have hit out at Burnham's extraordinary comments which comes just days after Manchester Council announced a watered-down version of the Homeless Tax.
Previously Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has said he has "no opinion" on the Homeless Tax. His office said he has "no comment to make".
Liberal Democrat Leader John Leech said:
"I am stunned. I can barely pull together the words to describe Burnham's stomach-churning press conference today.
"Burnham says Labour would never criminalise homeless people just days after his flagship Labour-run Council announced plans to push through a watered-down version of the Homeless Tax.
"Homelessness is a desperate problem in Manchester and we must work together to solve it. I'm confident that Burnham does want to fix this but these well-oiled press conferences are just a distraction from what councils like Manchester are actually doing on the ground.
“Labour's Homeless Tax remains a cruel and inhumane attempt to clean up Manchester’s streets and the Liberal Democrats will not rest until it is completely scrapped."