Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, and John Healey, Shadow Housing Secretary, have criticised the Conservatives for being “directly responsible” for people living and dying on the country’s streets, and pledged a national “moral mission” to save lives this winter and end rough sleeping.
As part of major new plans to fulfil the Labour Party’s manifesto pledge to end rough sleeping within five years, Labour has announced:
- A £600m Modern Hostels Fund for good quality homeless accommodation with 5,000 additional bed spaces to take people off the streets and help them rebuild their lives
- £200m Hostels Transformation Fund to turn existing hostels into places where homeless people can turn their lives around;
- A new £100m a year scheme for emergency winter shelter and support to save lives, starting this winter, and get people off the streets in the cold weather;
- 4,000 additional ‘Housing First’ homes – a pioneering scheme to get some rough sleepers straight off the streets and into permanent housing, and 4,000 new permanent ‘move-on’ homes, ring-fenced for rough sleepers moving out of hostel accommodation
This package will be backed up with an additional £1 billion a year earmarked from council budgets to pay for staffing and support, and funding to re-link local housing allowance with local rents – major new pledges to tackle homelessness contained in the Labour manifesto.
Together, Labour’s plans add up to the biggest package of help for the homeless in at least 20 years.Rough sleeping has more than doubled since 2010, and the number of people dying homeless has risen by 50 per cent in the last five years, totalling 726 people last year.
Since 2010, the Conservatives have cut £1bn out of local homelessness services so there are almost 9,000 fewer hostel beds, slashed funding for social housing so the number of Government-funded homes for social rent has fallen by 90 per cent and dramatically reduced housing benefit entitlements, which the National Audit Office says has directly led to higher homelessness.
At least 135,000 children will be homeless and living in temporary accommodation across Britain this Christmas.
Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, said “One person sleeping rough is one too many. No one wants to live in a society where thousands of homeless people are left out in the cold on the streets.
“Labour will save lives this winter and end rough sleeping within five years. That’s real change.”
John Healey, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, said “Rising homelessness shames us all in a country as well-off as ours.
“It shames the Conservative Party most of all because it is Conservative decisions to slash funding for hostels, housing benefit, homelessness services and new homes that are directly responsible for this increase in people living and dying on our streets.
“With Labour this will change. We need a new moral mission to save lives this winter and end rough sleeping within five years.”