Image: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images from the Plymouth Herald
Image: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images from the Plymouth Herald
  • The number of socially rented houses being built has fallen by 80% since 2010
  • In the South West, this number has fallen from  4849 in 2010-2011 to 963 in 2018-19
  • Labour’s plan would reverse £1 billion homeless services cuts and end rough sleeping

Luke has admonished the Conservative’s record on homelessness and rough sleeping as recent stats point to ten years of failure. From a point in 2010 where rough sleeping was on the decline and a realistic end was in sight, Conservative and Liberal Democrat Welfare cuts have led to rough sleeping rising every year to a point where it has more than doubled.

Luke had this to say:

“Homelessness and rough sleeping are incredibly important issues – how we treat the most vulnerable and least well-off is an indicator of our value as a society – and right now we are failing. We have to do more to tackle this issue, starting by making 8,000 homes available now to end rough sleeping.”

There was no reprieve for Plymouth and the wider South West, where the number of rough sleepers has risen 70% and the number of children sleeping in temporary accomodation has increased by more than a third.

Despite Plymouth City Council taking positive steps to simplify the process of helping rough sleepers through their Alliance contract, their budget has fallen by 60% under the Conservatives and there is no magic bullet to fix this problem without a long-term, sustained funding formula.

The action local councils can take is limited whilst there is no austerity let-up under this government and with the Prime Minister calling on departments to make further 5% cuts it appears the situation could get worse still.

Luke is right to say that this is a cross-party issue where all MPs should work together with councils and charities, but right now the nonchalant attitude of government leaves a lot to be desired.

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