Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald says: “This week, Labour turns the spotlight on the national shame of rising homelessness and the underlying message about the crisis of housing supply here in the UK.
“There’s a solution hiding in plain sight”, said Mr McDonald. “Let’s build more homes, let’s secure an adequate supply of social housing with proper rent controls and greater security for private tenants.
“It is strikingly odd that something so fundamental as a roof over our heads does not go right to the heart of government and public consciousness. There is a tory void in policy making created by their narrow ideology – the wrong ideology – that markets will provide for all needs.”
“It is a market failure – and a tory failure – that only half of the number of new homes needed are being built. The consequence is a national shame and the abject misery caused by homelessness – up since 2010 by 44% to almost 60,000. Across the UK this Christmas 120,000 children will not be sleeping in their own bed.
“Labour’s record is impressive and something to shout out about. In government, Labour built two million more homes, created a million more home-owners and the largest investment in social housing in a generation. Labour’s record on homelessness is one of our proudest achievements in government when ‘statutory’ homelessness fell by almost two-thirds (62%).
“There is a role for local councils but they have been deliberately shackled by the tories. In the social housing sector the imposition of the bedroom tax, forced rent reductions, the introduction of Universal Credit and proposals to introduce rent capping are threatening the viability of some Housing Associations.
“Adequate, decent space to live is a basic human need – much the same as having enough money to live on. A roof over our heads is as important as the pounds in our pockets. A balanced housing market, social justice and a balanced economy go hand in hand.
“The government must take a lead and show the political will to address this most pressing of domestic problems to do the right thing for the citizens of this country. If not, a Labour government in power will show them, once again, how it is done.