In advance of the second reading of the Homeless Reduction Bill, Shabana Mahmood MP met constituents and representatives from the homeless charity Crisis in Parliament to discuss the Bill.
Unfortunately, Shabana was unable to attend the debate due to prior commitments in the constituency. However, she is most concerned about the lack of effort by the Tories to prevent and deal with Homelessness and was therefore most pleased that the bill passed its second reading on Friday 28th October.
Labour supports the aim of the Bill, which draws on changes made by Labour in Wales in the Housing (Wales) Act 2014, and could make some difference to the scandal of rising homelessness here in England too.
Indeed, Labour’s record on homelessness is one of our proudest achievements in government. The action of the 1997-2010 government led to what the independent Crisis/JRF Homelessness Monitor describes as “an unprecedented decline in statutory homelessness”. From 1998/99, when comparable statistics begin, to 2009/10, headline or ‘statutory’ homelessness fell by almost two-thirds (62%), from over 100,000 households to 40,000.
Since 2010 under a Tory Prime Minister, this trend of falling homelessness has gone into reverse. Between 2009/10 and 2015/16 the number of statutory homeless households has increased from 40,020 to 57,740, an increase of 44%.
Shabana commenting, said:
“I fully support this Bill and was pleased that it passed its second reading, especially considering the scandalous record of this Government on homelessness.
However, I believe that the Bill must be fully funded if it is to achieve its aim. It must not be used as an excuse for the Government to devolve responsibility to councils without proper funding, or to shift blame to councils for the Government’s failure on homelessness. The Government should therefore use the Autumn Statement to announce funding measures to enable provisions in the Bill to be fully funded.
Moreover, the Bill will not succeed in significantly reducing homelessness if the government presses on with the decisions which have caused rising homelessness since 2010: a steep drop in investment for affordable homes, crude cuts to housing benefit, reduced funding for homelessness services, and a lack of action to help private renters. Labour will continue to campaign for action on these fronts to end homelessness”.