This is the sharp edge of ‘caring Conservatism’.
2015 will be the third year running that Vox Political has run an article on the number of children who will be homeless at Christmas – and, for the third year running, the total has increased.
In 2013 it was 87,000 – 7,000 more than predicted by the charity Shelter. In 2014, the total had increased to 96,000. This year, the charity expects more than 100,000 children to be homeless.
Here’s what Shelter has to say about it:
“You may not see them on the streets, but they’re still homeless. Because they don’t have homes, they’re living in places like hostels and B&Bs.
“A child’s Christmas should be exciting – eating too much, playing games with family… Wondering if they’ll see the presents they wished for under the tree.
“But 100,000 children might not even have room for a tree – let alone space to sit around a table for Christmas dinner. Plus, their temporary accommodation might be hundreds of miles away from family and friends.
“Can you imagine spending Christmas homeless, away from what you know? These children won’t have to – it’s reality.
“100,000 is a hard number to get your head around – it’s the equivalent of four in every school in Britain.
“Why? More and more households had to rely on temporary accommodation in the last few years. And because there aren’t enough homes, these families are trapped there.
“Under such pressure, it’s hard to find somewhere decent to live that’s affordable; close to family and school.
“Having a place to sleep isn’t the same as having a home
“If you don’t have rights to stay where you are, your accommodation is unsafe or you’re sleeping rough, you could be homeless. For example, you might be staying with friends or in a hostel, living with poor conditions that affect your health, or at risk of abuse in your home.”
What Shelter won’t tell you is that this is the intended result of government policies designed to turf people the Conservatives deem undesirable out of areas they consider to be desirable and force them to find somewhere else to live – if they can.
The Bedroom Tax, the Benefit Cap, low wages, high private rents and house prices all contribute to this, and are either Tory policies or phenomena the Tories – and their friends – have allowed to go unchecked.
Tories don’t care if these people end up starving on the street, as long as they can make a fat wad of cash out of the space they leave behind.
In 2013, I wrote: “Don’t let a Tory tell you it’s nothing to do with them. They wanted this. In fact, 80,000 homeless children at Christmas is probably not enough for them.”
I take no please in reporting that I appear to have been correct.
Shelter is running an appeal for donations to help provide urgent support for families facing eviction. The best way to foil the Tories’ plans is to help the people those plans endanger. So please visit Shelter’s website and offer what you can.
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