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Homeless woman questions Miliband during street speech
Leader of the opposition Ed Miliband promised to help the homeless after a rough sleeper questioned him during a street speech.
The Labour leader enlisted a Brighton councillor to hold homeless surgeries after street-sleeper Louise Green, 27, pleaded for help.
He was speaking at a question-and-answer session on New Road as part of the Labour Party Conference.
Answering a question on the housing shortage he said: “We will start building homes. We have a housing crisis which has got worse on the Tories’ watch.
“We will say to private developers sitting on land ‘you’ve got to use, or lose it’.”
But Louise said: “I’m on the streets. How is that going to help us?”
Mr Miliband promised he would get Labour councillor Emma Daniel to talk to her.
Speaking afterwards Ms Green said: “No-one will help me get off the streets. I’m fleeing domestic abuse and have bipolar disorder. The only help I get is from other homeless people.
“Homeless services in the city are good but on Saturday and Sunday there’s nothing for us.
“For a lot of people on the streets there’s only three things you can do: beg, busk or thieve.”
Coun Daniel (Hanover) said: “I’ve made a commitment to hold a homeless surgery.
“Homeless people are often the most in need yet they have the least say. I’m determined to give them a voice and make sure they are heard."
She added: “We need new homes, better living conditions – I’m proud to be part of the Labour Party and fighting for people who need it most.”
Mr Miliband also pledged to help the likes of Neil from Rye – a vulnerable man he cited in his case against the bedroom tax.
He said: “I’m fighting for Neil who is disabled and lives in an adapted home.
“David Cameron is imposing bedroom tax on Neil and he’ll have to pay £100 extra per year; while hedge funds and the construction industry get tax breaks. Is that fair?
“We’re going to fight for Neil and hundreds like him."
When asked by The Argus if Labour could overcome the Green Party he said: "People say we can't afford to make environmental commitments. But I say we can't afford not to make environmental commitments.
“It is Labour that has the world-leading target on climate change.”
Mr Miliband said banks should lend to struggling small businesses.
Kiriakos Mpaxevanis, owner of Little Jasmine Therapies and Spa, New Road, said afterwards: “Although consumer confidence has improved I think the banks need to give more help to small business.”
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