Jeremy Corbyn has detailed his plans to end homelessness if he makes it into power – and it includes using Chequers to house rough sleepers.
The lavish 16th-century Buckinghamshire country house is the residence of the Prime Minister and lies empty for much of the year. So Corbyn told ITV’s Julie Etchingham, in an interview that will air tonight, that he will open the doors of the residence to rough sleepers should he be named Prime Minister following the December 12 election.
Corbyn, who has taken The Big Issue’s Future Generations Pledge ahead of the election, told ITV: ““I would indeed [open up Chequers]. It can’t be right. We’re a country with 150 billionaires, and we’ve still got people sleeping on the streets.”
The claim comes as Labour have detailed their plans to end homelessness, in order to end “the scandal of people living and dying on our streets”.
If elected, Labour say they will spend £600m providing 5,000 additional beds through a Modern Hostels Fund with a further £200m to overhaul existing hostels.
A further £100m a year has also been set aside for emergency winter shelter and support while the party have also pledged to find 4,000 additional Housing First homes for rough sleepers alongside 4,000 “move-on” homes.
Last year, 27,000 people worldwide earned an income selling street papers, making a total of £23.4 million.
Corbyn added: “One person sleeping rough is one too many.
“No one wants to live in a society where thousands of homeless people are left out in the cold on the streets. Labour will save lives this winter and end rough sleeping within five years. That’s real change.”
Homelessness charity St Mungo’s has welcomed Labour’s plans, citing their analysis that there were 8,755 fewer places for homeless people in 2018 than there were in 2010.
"It's Labour that was responsible for the massive rise of homelessness."
Chancellor @sajidjavid claims that the previous Labour government is to blame for the UK's rise in homelessness.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) December 5, 2019
“We are very pleased that Labour is responding to evidence from the homelessness sector and campaigners with policies that will make a real difference to tackling rough sleeping and wider homelessness,” said Howard Sinclair, St Mungo’s chief executive.
“In this election we are calling on candidates and leaders from all parties to acknowledge that the need is urgent and growing. Homelessness is not inevitable and, as another winter approaches, no politician should ignore the scandal of people living and dying on our streets.”
Since the Conservatives came to power it has increased by 40%
The number of households in temporary accommodation has increased by 60% and the number of rough sleepers has well over doubled
— BBC Reality Check (@BBCRealityCheck) December 5, 2019
In response, Home Secretary Sajid Javid pointed the finger at the Labour government who were in power prior to 2010, stating that “rough sleeping peaked under Labour in 2008 and since then it has almost halved”.
However, the former Housing Secretary’s appearance on Sky News, where he made the claims, has been largely derided. Official figures show that rough sleeping has risen by 169 per cent since 2010, despite a supposed slight overall reduction, the first in eight years, recorded last year.