Labour blasts 'shameful' government record as child homelessness hits 12 year high

Posted On: 
3rd December 2019

Labour has blasted the Government's "shameful" record on tackling poverty as child homelessness hits its highest level in over a decade.

Child homelessness has risen to a 12 year high, according to a new report from charity Shelter
Credit: 
PA

Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey accused ministers of being "directly" responsible for soaring numbers of children living in temporary accomodation as a result of cuts to housing benefit and homelessness services.

It comes after a new report from charity, Shelter, found 135,000 children across England and Wales are currently living in temporary accomodation.

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The study also claimed an estimated 4,026 children will be made homlessness by 25 December as the group called on all political parties to put a priority on tackling homelessness ahead of the election.

Both Labour and the Conservatives have pledged to build more homes in the next Parliament, with Jeremy Corbyn announcing plans for 100,000 new council houses a year by 2024.

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson said his party would aim to build a millions new homes over the next five years alongside other measures to boost home ownership.

But responding to the report, Mr Healey said the plans would do little to tackle child homlessness.

"It is shameful that after ten years of the Conservatives in Government, 135,000 children will be without a home this Christmas," he said.

"Rising homelessness is a direct result of decisions made by the Tories: slashing investment in new low-cost homes, refusing to help private renters and making huge cuts to housing benefit and homelessness services.

"The Conservatives' manifesto makes clear they have no plan to tackle the crisis of rising homelessness with the biggest council and social housing programme since the 1960s, stronger rights for renters and extra funding for homelessness services."

"Scandalous figure"

Shelter found the London boroughs of Kensington & Chelsea, Haringey, Westminster and Newham had the highest rates of homelessness across the country, with an average of 1 in 12 children living in temporary accomodation.

Outside the capital the study found 1 in 22 children in Luton and 1 in 30 in Brighton and Hove were homeless.

Polly Neate, the charity's chief executive, urged parties to take "real action" to tackle the issue.

She said: "The fact 183 children become homeless every day is a scandalous figure and sharp reminder that political promises about tackling homelessness must be turned into real action.

"Day in, day out we see the devastating impact the housing emergency is having on children across the country. They are being uprooted from friends; living in cold, cramped B&Bs and going to bed at night scared by the sound of strangers outside."

Lib Dem housing spokesperson, Tim Farron, added: "No child should suffer the trauma of being made homeless, yet a lack of social housing and cuts to benefits are forcing hundreds of families out on the streets every week.

"This is just another shameful example of the Conservative's failure to provide a safety net for those in need, and the fact that some of the wealthiest areas in our country are hosting the highest number of homless children also demonstrates how inequality has flourished under their leadership."

The Conservative Party have been approached for comment.