Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.Donate to our crowdfunder
I am grateful to you, Madam Deputy Speaker, for calling me to speak, because I know that many other Members wish to. I will therefore not take any interventions.
The Government’s own figures show that rough sleeping has increased by 30% over the past year, and it has almost doubled since they came to power back in 2010. The Mayor of London promised to tackle homelessness in the capital, but it has doubled over his period in City Hall. The Combined Homelessness and Information Network found that there are 7,500 rough sleepers on London’s streets alone. Councils are spending a staggering £623,000 every single day on temporary bed and breakfast accommodation just to put a roof over the heads of vulnerable families. That equates to £227.5 million last year, a rise of over £60 million on the previous year. The overwhelming majority of that money—some £176 million —was spent in London; 10% of the total figure—some £20 million—was spent in my home borough, the London borough of Haringey.
We have heard from my hon. Friend Meg Hillier, who chairs the Public Accounts Committee, which has looked into the extension of the right to buy. Its report makes sobering reading. The Government have not published a proper impact assessment on the full extent of the right to buy. In fact, my hon. Friend said:
“The Government should be embarrassed by the findings of this Report.”
I could not agree more.
I ask the Government why they are planning to push through changes that would reduce social housing stock by 370,000 by 2020. That figure is not from the Labour party; it is from the Chartered Institute of Housing. Why are they proposing to push that through? They are stretching councils to breaking point but are not even prepared to publish an impact assessment. Homelessness will increase and more families will end up in temporary accommodation. More families on low incomes will be reliant on the private rented sector. Of course, if they are reliant on the private rented sector, who will pick up the bill for that? We the taxpayer will, because housing benefit will increase.