Labour attack on Cameron over 'soaring levels of homelessness'


Soaring levels of homelessness since David Cameron took the keys to No 10 have left thousands more children facing Christmas in hostels and rough sleepers out on the streets, Labour has warned.

The number of households classed as homeless has risen by more than a third in England since 2010 - and is on course to have nearly doubled by the next general election, according to analysis by the party.

Labour accused the Prime Minister of presiding over a "crisis" in homelessness despite his claims in opposition that it was a "disgrace" that people were forced to sleep on the streets.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said there had been "five years of failure on homelessness under this Government".

He added: "It's a disgrace that young and often vulnerable people are among the hardest-hit from the Government's cuts to welfare - cuts that make it far harder for people facing homelessness to get back on their feet.

"We must all fight for a society that is more decent, secure, and fair, and where no one facing homelessness is cast aside."

According to Labour analysis of Government figures, the number of homeless households will rise to around 75,000 by 2020 on current trends, up from 40,020 in the final financial year of the last Labour government and 54,430 in 2014/15.

Latest figures show that there were 2,744 rough sleepers last year, up from 1,768 in the year the coalition was formed. That is estimated to rise to just under 5,000 by 2020, the party said.

By the end of the parliament, the number of children in temporary accommodation, such as hostels, is predicted to rise to more than 100,000, up from 80,603 in 2009/10 and 90,335 in 2014/15.

John Healey, shadow cabinet minister for housing, said: "It's a scandal that after so much progress was made on homelessness under Labour, we've gone into reverse under the Tories.

"The result is thousands more children stuck in hostels and temporary accommodation this Christmas, and more people sleeping on the streets each year since 2010.

"These five years of failure weren't inevitable - Labour showed in government how much progress can be made. Tory ministers must now act to stop the crisis of high homelessness getting even worse."

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said: "The reality is, statutory homelessness is now less than half the 2003/04 peak. This Government takes homelessness extremely seriously and since 2010, we have made £1 billion available to prevent and tackle the issue. This investment has prevented nearly a million households becoming homeless."