We need a commitment to compassion - I vow to end rough sleeping in London by 2030, writes Sadiq Khan

15 April 2024, 06:00

We need a commitment to compassion - I vow to end rough sleeping in London by 2030, writes Sadiq Khan
We need a commitment to compassion - I vow to end rough sleeping in London by 2030, writes Sadiq Khan. Picture: Alamy/LBC
Sadiq Khan

By Sadiq Khan

The true measure of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable, and there can be no more desperate illustration of our current failure than people sleeping rough in shop fronts, cars and abandoned buildings.

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The reality of life on the street means not knowing where you’ll sleep, what you’ll eat, or how you’ll wash. It's an often unbearably cruel, unimaginably dangerous existence.

But to be clear the thousands of people across Britain who spent last night sleeping rough didn’t end up doing so either by choice or by chance.

They are the victims of this Tory Government – spiralling mortgages and rents, reneging on their promise to ban no-fault evictions, vandalising the social safety net, and implementing huge cuts to council budgets.

But we shouldn’t think people sleeping rough on our streets is inevitable. It shouldn’t be a feature of modern life that we simply must accept.

If you think back to the scale of destitution inherited by the last Labour government in the late 1990s, they had the determination and political will required to rebuild our public services and social safety net, and rough sleeping was all but eradicated from our streets.

This is the scale of the challenge we face again. Making this right matters to Londoners, and it matters to me.

If I’m re-elected on 2 May as your Mayor, my promise to Londoners is that I’ll finally end rough sleeping in our city by 2030.

I’m pledging to increase City Hall’s rough sleeping budget to record levels - setting aside an additional 10 million pounds over the next three years.

We’ll fund a new expanded network of rough sleeping hubs across London, helping an additional 1,700 people off our streets annually by the end of the term.

We’ll strengthen existing relationships with all our boroughs, charities and businesses – and forge new ones with all those who share our ambition and resolve.

And we’ll work side-by-side with the next Labour government to overcome the social and economic injustices which leave our society scarred and our people with no place to call home.

A vote for Labour on 2 May is a vote to end the indignity, fear and isolation felt by those forced to endure a life on the street once and for all.

Together, we’ll condemn the scandal of rough sleeping to history - not just for a short time but for all time.

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