The Tories on Homelessness


Both Labour and the Conservatives released their General Election manifestos earlier this week, and to continue with our homelessness series I decided to look at the Conservatives’ manifesto for 2017 to see how they are proposing to tackle homelessness.

The Conservatives have received some negative publicity when it comes to homelessness in the past. The number of rough sleepers doubled since David Cameron took his place as Prime Minister in 2010, and a member of the Cambridge University Conservatives Association was seen burning a £20 note in front of a homeless person in a Snapchat video earlier this year. Westminster council, under Conservative rule, wanted to ban soup runs around Westminster Cathedral as the congregations of homeless people caused residents and visitors distress in 2011. Welfare cuts, lack of housing and high rent whilst Cameron has been PM, many say, has also contributed to the increase of homelessness in the UK, particularly in London.

Whilst flicking through their online manifesto, I was surprised to find homelessness being addressed directly on page 58. In the manifesto it states that the Conservatives “Aim to halve rough sleeping over the course of parliament and eliminate it altogether by 2027.” An incredibly ambitious aim… But how are they going to do that?

  • “Full Implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act”
  • “A new homelessness reduction taskforce that will focus on prevention and affordable housing”
  • “Pilot a Housing First approach to tackle rough sleeping”

The Conservatives also promise to “deliver a million homes by the end of 2020 and half a million more by 2022”. They say this increase in home availability will “slow the rise in housing costs” and “bring the cost of renting down”. The Conservatives also want to continue to increase the National Living Wage to 60% of median earnings by 2020. They have also said they will “adopt a ‘Breathing Space’ scheme, with the right safeguards to prevent abuse, so that someone in serious problem debt may apply for legal protection from further interest, charges and enforcement action for a period of up to six weeks” which may greatly prevent many becoming homeless due to eviction and debt.

What do you think? Can the Tories really eliminate homelessness by 2027?

More articles in Homelessness
  1. The Tories on Homelessness
  2. Homelessness Survey: The Results
  3. The Homeless Period
  4. Homelessness: What Can We Learn From Finland?
  5. What Can Students Do to Help the Homeless?
  6. An Interview with Steve Fletcher from Homeless Charity: ‘Above Us Only Sky?’
  7. Homelessness: Miracle Messages
  8. Local Council to Receive £400,000 to Help the Homeless
  9. What Do Food Banks Do?
  10. Swaythling Methodist Church Food Bank
  11. The Megabite Scheme: Helping the Homeless Without Giving Money
  12. New Pret A Manger on Highfield Campus Helping the Homeless

Features Editor 2017/18, Sub-Editor 2018/2019, BA English Student.

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