Sunday 18 March 2018 / 5:28 PM Housing / John Healey

“If Ministers seriously don’t know why rough sleeping has risen then they don’t know how to fix the problem either.” – Healey

Responding to the Government’s Homelessness Minister saying she doesn’t know why rough sleeping has risen, Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary, John Healey MP said:


“If Ministers seriously don’t know why rough sleeping has risen then they don’t know how to fix the problem either.


“The truth is the national shame of rising rough sleeping is the direct result of decisions made by Conservative Ministers: cuts to council services and housing benefit, a lack of action to help private renters and a sharp fall in the number of genuinely affordable homes.


“A Labour Government will act on all these fronts and end rough sleeping within our first five years in Government.”





Heather Wheeler MP, the Minister with responsibility for homelessness, was asked by the Guardian why rough sleeping had risen. She replied: “In truth, I don’t know.”


Regarding provision of housing for homeless people in Scotland, the Minister also remarked “I find it fascinating that there is no private-sector rental used at all to place people up here – it’s all local authority and housing association, because you have supply” – seemingly unaware that this was the case in England too until the Conservatives changed the law in 2011 to allow discharge of councils’ homelessness duties into the private rented sector.


The Ministers also says that, to tackle rising homelessness, it is important to “sort out supply of affordable housing”. The number of Government-funded social rented homes being started each year has fallen from almost 40,000 in 2009/10 to fewer than 1,000 last year – a fall of 98%: