MP Barclay discusses overcrowded housing and exploitative landlords with housing minister

MP Steve Barclay with Housing Minister Mark Prisk

MP Steve Barclay with Housing Minister Mark Prisk - Credit: Archant

MP Steve Barclay MP met with Housing Minister Mark Prisk to discuss his campaign for a clampdown on overcrowded housing and unscrupulous landlords.

At the meeting, the North East Cambs MP formally requested funding for a selective licensing scheme for Houses in Multiple Occupation in Fenland.

Mr Barclay also raised concerns at migrant workers living in overcrowded, cramped and exploitative conditions in unlicensed housing and highlighted the associated problems of antisocial behaviour, vandalism and street drinking, which impact on the community.

He said: “I had a really positive meeting with the minister and it is great news that action is being taken on HMO’s in North East Cambridgeshire at the highest level of government.

“The minister recognised the need for an urgent crackdown on illegal activity and agreed to work with me on an assessment of all available powers and whether they are being fully exercised at the moment.

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“The minister also agreed that he would constructively consider a bid for specific funding for activities on the ground here in Wisbech.

“The meeting comes at a good time as departmental budgets for the year ahead are currently being finalised.”

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Minister Mark Prisk said: “I am very concerned to hear what Mr Barclay has said about the serious problems facing people in his constituency.

“I recognise the need for a crackdown on illegal activity linked to housing and will work with him over the coming months to assist with these issues.”

Mr Barclay is leading a dedicated Multi-Agency Taskforce, code named Operation Pheasant, which targets criminality linked to houses in multiple occupation.

Operation Pheasant, which involves Cambridgeshire police, the HMRC and a number of local organisations, has led to a number of arrests and raids being made in recent weeks.

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