Corbyn doubles pledge to help homeless on first day as Prime Minister

28 January 2018, 13:55

Jeremy Corbyn has doubled the number of new homes Labour would make available to rough sleepers on his first day as Prime Minister.

He announced the pledge of acquiring 8,000 homes as part of a promise to end rough sleeping within at least five years.

Labour committed to 4,000 in its manifesto at the 2017 general election but said it was doubling the figure because of soaring numbers of homeless people.

Rough sleeping has more than doubled since the Conservatives first came to power in 2010, the latest statics from the Government show.

The new policy would see deals struck with housing associations to make homes available as soon as they become vacant - rather than wait for new ones to be built.

Announcing the plan, Mr Corbyn said the "social priorities" of housing deserved more attention.

He told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: "When you have in the middle of an area where there is a lot of housing stress, many people rough sleeping.

"You get some luxury, glistening block built, sold off-plan to long-distance overseas investors who may buy and sell it before it's even been built.

"Well let's hang on - let's look at the social priorities here."

Shadow housing secretary John Healey added that homelessness "shames us all but should shame Conservative ministers most".

"It is a direct consequence of decisions made by the Tories on housing and on funding for charities and councils," he said.

Cabinet Office minister David Lidington responded that there were many reasons the number of rough sleepers had risen so sharply since 2010.

He said: "We have pledged to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and eliminate it by 2027.

"We have backed new legislation which is enabling us, with local authorities, to address the reasons why people become homeless and sleep rough, so that we prevent it, rather than try to deal with the problem when it occurs."