Layla Moran, Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has slammed the Government for “failing the most vulnerable,” as analysis from the House of Commons Library shows that the Government is significantly off track from meeting its target of eliminating rough sleeping by 2024.
The Conservatives announced the revised target, which was previously 2027, after the election in December.
There were an estimated 4,677 rough sleepers in England on any ‘given night’ in Autumn 2018, a reduction of just 2% or 74 people on 2017’s figure.
Analysis by the House of Commons Library shows that there would need to be an average of 780 fewer rough sleepers recorded each year, for there to be zero rough sleepers by 2024.
Moran said that “the data shows just how off track the Government is. We need actions, not just words.”
Given the nature of the data, intended to be a ‘snapshot’ of rough sleepers on any given night, the numbers are likely to be even higher.
The Lib Dem MP added that “this Government can’t even commit to scrapping the Vagrancy Act, which criminalises rough sleeping”, saying that a more compassionate and holistic approach to tackling the homelessness crisis was needed.
Commenting, Layla said:
“These figures underline the Tories’ failure when it comes to rough sleeping and homelessness. They are letting down some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
“Having a target to eliminate rough sleeping by 2024 is all well and good, but the data shows just how off track the Government is. We need actions, not just words.
“The Conservatives must implement a more compassionate and holistic approach, if they are to get any closer to their goal. That starts with scrapping the Vagrancy Act, a Dickensian law that criminalises rough sleeping in England and Wales. The answer to ending rough sleeping is not to arrest those doing it.”
1. The latest Government announcement on homelessness, which includes the new 2024 target, is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/prime-minister-pledges-new-action-to-eliminate-homelessness-and-rough-sleeping
2. The latest figures are available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-homelessness#rough-sleeping-tables
3. The House of Commons Library briefing on rough sleeping in England is available here: https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/SN02007
4. The figure of 780 fewer rough sleepers per year to reach zero rough sleepers by 2024 is based on analysis by the House of Commons Library (see above), that shows there was a reduction of just 74 (2%) rough sleepers between 2017 and 2018, which would have meant a reduction of 520 rough sleepers per year for the Government’s 2027 target.
a. These figures are reached by taking the 2018 figure for rough sleepers in England, 4,677, and dividing it by the years remaining since 2018 until the elimination target.