Denton and Reddish MP, Andrew Gwynne, is backing Labour’s radical new national offer of emergency shelter for every rough sleeper during cold weather.
The Labour Party’s Shadow Housing Secretary, John Healey MP said it “beggars belief” that in twenty-first century Britain there are parts of the country in which there is little or no shelter for those sleeping on the streets during extreme cold weather, and that the Government doesn’t even know which areas have this provision.
Figures collected by the Government reveal that in the North West region alone, 434 people slept rough on the street on one night last year, up 334% since 2010.
Since October last year, an estimated 484 people have died homeless, including during the ‘beast from the east’ cold spell between February and March last year. Last winter one in four severe weather services had to turn rough sleepers away.
Under Labour’s plans, funding will be provided for emergency accommodation in every area, for every rough sleeper whenever local temperatures are set to fall below freezing.
The new national offer will be funded through a new Rough Sleepers Cold Weather Fund, set at £100m in the first year, and paid for by a previously announced second homes levy. As well as extra emergency shelter, this will also fund key workers to link rough sleepers with health and housing support to keep them off the streets for good,given that cold weather enables contact with rough sleepers that are otherwise hard to reach.
The announcement forms part of the Labour Party’s plan to end rough sleeping within the first term of the next Labour Government.
Andrew Gwynne said:
“Rough sleeping continues to rise each and every year since 2010 – this is as a direct result of decisions made by this Tory Government, and the problem is getting worse.
“Where the Government refuses to take action, Labour has set out a clear plan for how we would not only provide emergency shelter this winter, but also plan to end rough sleeping entirely by the end of a first term Labour Government.”