Street Homelessness — [James Gray in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:29 am on 24th April 2018.

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Photo of John McNally John McNally Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Environment) 10:29 am, 24th April 2018

I absolutely and totally agree. That figure is in your face and unavoidable. The impact those cuts are having on our streets is unavoidable; how could anybody not see it?

The Westminster Government must scrap the punitive cuts that have pushed people into destitution. Other charities and organisations are left firefighting these decisions. I will mention some action that has been taken by way of education into employment—life-changing measures for the vulnerably housed and homeless.

As chair of the all-party parliamentary group on the hair industry, I was honoured and privileged to attend a wonderful example of a community working together, in Exeter in Devon. Hair@theAcademy provides professional barbering courses for the homeless and vulnerably housed. A truly remarkable project, the academy has successfully piloted a level 2 certificate in barbering qualifications for six homeless adults. Those adults, who have issues, are all moving into full-time or part-time employment or self-employment. Before starting, all participants must complete a two-week citizenship course with Learn Devon, to ensure that they are clean and ready to begin learning.

The barbering course has the built-in flexibility to run over six months, recognising that there will be difficulties and issues. I would call it a magna vitae. It shows great, creative thinking from Learn Devon and from Mary Pugsley from Hair@theAcademy, who put the project together. What a great vision she has to help others who are more needy. The course is delivered with one-to-one tutoring, and as the learners become more confident, they are encouraged to become more independent in their learning journey. The courage of the businesses that support the course needs to be recognised. They have allowed these people to enter into life and have changed their lives and their way of living and their own communities are all the better for it.