Labour links homeless deaths with local government funding cuts

The party’s analysis says that nine of the ten councils with the highest number of homeless deaths in the UK over the last four years have seen cuts over three times the national average

The local authorities who have been hit the hardest by homeless deaths have also seen their funding slashed by more than three times the national average, says new Labour research.

The political party insists that nine of the 10 councils with the highest number of people dying on the streets over the last four years have been in places where the average cut of £254 per household has been dwarfed.

That includes the English second city, according to Labour, with Birmingham experiencing the most homeless deaths – 90 between 2013 and 2017 – while dealing with cuts of £939.80 per household.

This means that the £405,000 that the council has received from central government in that time is dwarfed by the £358 million cut in spending power that they have experienced.

Elsewhere, Manchester, Leeds, Blackburn, Liverpool and the four London boroughs of Camden, Westminster, Lambeth and Tower Hamlets all suffered a large amount of homeless deaths following cuts.

A total of 89 people lost their lives on the streets in Camden while Manchester saw 65 people die. Blackburn is the only town on the list, losing 41 people after cuts of £879 per household.

Labour’s Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey said: “These figures show that the areas with the highest homelessness deaths are facing the deepest cuts. This makes the prospect of reducing deaths ever more bleak.

“The government’s £30m to reduce rough sleeping number has been pitiful so Britain’s homelessness crisis is set to continue.

“The next Prime Minister must put an end to this national shame of people dying on our street and back Labour’s plans to end rough sleeping and build thousands more affordable homes.”

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However, a Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spokesperson has hit back, claiming that there is a £100m fund to end rough sleeping by 2027 as well as vowing to ensure that homeless deaths are independently reviewed.

“Every death on our streets is a tragedy,” the spokesperson said. “That’s why we are investing £1.2bn to tackle homelessness and have bold plans backed by £100m to end rough sleeping in its entirety.”

Homeless deaths have been high up the agenda in the last 18 months on.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s (TBIJ) Dying Homeless project and the Office for National Stastics’ own count has ensured that homeless deaths have been counted for the first time.

The official count found that 597 people died while homeless in 2017 while the Museum of Homelessness has taken over the TBIJ count.