Denying the facts: Heather Wheeler.

The Tory minister responsible for reducing homelessness has said she does not know why the number of people sleeping rough in the UK has risen sharply – after refusing to accept the obvious explanation that it’s due to her government’s policies.

Here‘s The Guardian:

The UK’s new homelessness minister has told the Guardian she does not know why the number of rough sleepers has increased so significantly in recent years. Heather Wheeler said she did not accept the suggestion that welfare reforms and council cuts had contributed to the rise.

On a visit to a housing project in Glasgow, Wheeler said she remained “totally confident” she would not have to act on her pledge to resign should she fail to meet the Conservative manifesto commitment of halving rough sleeping by 2022, and eradicating it by 2027. “We’re going to move heaven and earth to get that done,” she promised.

The Left Foot Forward blog has a few ideas for Ms Wheeler. Trouble is, she won’t want to hear them:

The number of people rough sleeping has grown in the UK for the past seven consecutive years and now 4,750 people now regularly sleep outside overnight.

Tory austerity has caused an increase in rough sleeping and homelessness:

  • Rents have risen whilst housing benefit has been cut; up to 5m households have seen a drop in state support for housing costs over the past three years.
  • And Shelter thinks that 78% of the rise in homelessness over the last six years was due to people being evicted from privately rented homes.
  • The number of Government-funded social rented homes being started each year has fallen from almost 40,000 in 2009/10 to fewer than 1,000 last year – a fall of 98%.

The National Audit Office makes the link explicit: the rise in homelessness is ‘likely to have been driven by welfare reforms’, the watchdog warned last year.

Ms Wheeler won’t want to pay any attention to Labour MP David Lammy, either:

So, even though housing is increasingly expensive and people are being denied the ability to pay for it – even full-time wages have been depressed so hard that they no longer cover a family’s outgoings – Ms Wheeler won’t accept that her party is responsible.

Perhaps she can take solace in the fact that she’s not alone in her ignorance.

Boris Johnson, for example, is suffering an extraordinary memory loss regarding his role in the London Garden Bridge fiasco:

And these are not isolated incidents:

Perhaps the Another Angry Voice blogger is right to ask:


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