Tag Archives: homelessness

The Tories have imposed a secret death sentence on the homeless

Commemorating the Tory death toll: These snow effigies of homeless people were created in 2018 to demonstrate that rough sleepers were freezing to death [Image: @TrevorCoultMC on Twitter].

Found on Facebook:

On Sunday I was walking on High Holborn and I passed a homeless person lying dead on the ground.

The ambulanceman had turned him onto his face so as to not disturb the passers-by – it was a heart-breaking scene that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

The next day on Euston Road I saw a homeless man, in a nest of dirty blankets, lying on the ground.

He was unconscious and his face was the colour of putty. He looked dead to me but the police who surrounded him hadn’t covered him up and were clearly waiting for an ambulance to arrive so life still existed inside him.

I hold every single Tory voter PERSONALLY responsible for the terrible fate of these two men.

This is Tory Britain and we’ve now got five more years of it.

At least five more years, if Boris Johnson has his way and ends fixed-term Parliaments.

The same person later added: “I’ve been walking on [those] streets for 45 years and I’ve never seen anything like what I’ve just witnessed.”

New figures from homelessness charity Shelter show that in England alone, one in every 200 people will be spending Christmas without a home to call their own – that’s 280,000 people – including 135,000 children.

The charity says a child loses their home every eight minutes in Boris Johnson’s England – that’s 183 children a day.

They won’t all be sleeping on the streets – and that’s lucky, because a rough sleeper dies every 19 hours in Boris Johnson’s Tory Britain.

And it didn’t have to be this way.

Labour would have housed these people and given them hope for the future.

But 14 million Conservative voters made sure that any hope was extinguished.

They demanded that 183 children continue to become homeless every day.

They demanded that 280,000 people would spend Christmas without a home.

And yes, they have blood on their hands because they absolutely demanded that a homeless person has to die every 19 hours.

In fact, by demanding a Boris Johnson Tory government, they probably demanded that this death rate should accelerate.

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Faced with five more years of Tory persecution, disabled people are losing hope

This didn’t happen: But you can bet the Tories would have wanted it.

“Basically now we are all buggered.

“No hope left for me as I’m disabled and they’ve messed me about so much already.

“I don’t see any compassion for people like myself and all the others like me out there – and to all the ones who have already taken their lives because of cuts cuts cuts cuts n more cuts.

“I’m so disappointed in people in general because of all the hatred towards different groups of people.

“And it’s now going to get worse. Thanks a bunch.”

Those aren’t my words; they were written by Mrs Mike, after the extent of Boris Johnson’s general election victory became clear.

I wonder how many of those who voted Tory because they really wanted Brexit stopped to think about the harm they were doing to their relatives on sickness and/or disability benefits, or to anybody else who is vulnerable because of the draconian Tory policies we’ve had to endure since 2010?

Did these people stop for a moment to think what the Tories will give us?

They won’t give us reform of the Department for Work and Pensions. Labour would have scrapped the DWP because the culture of persecution has now become so ingrained into it that the only responsible choice was to dissolve the entire department and replace it with a new Department of Social Security. That will not happen under the Conservatives and the culture of persecution will continue to kill people – your relatives, maybe.

They won’t reform the benefit system and scrap Universal Credit. UC has been a hugely-expensive ‘white elephant’ from the start – but it does exactly what the Conservatives want: It kills benefit claimants. With an 80-seat majority, Johnson will really put the screws on the poor and vulnerable. Mrs Mike was right and we can expect a bloodbath.

(But don’t expect the Tory-led mass media to report on it. Apparently there were huge demonstrations against the new Tory government in London over the weekend. Did you see it reported on the news? Neither did I. I did see a report on how Russian president Putin controls the news media so nothing is said against his government. That is what you’ll get from now on.)

They won’t reform the so-called “digital barrier” that obstructs people who have trouble coping with computers and the internet from claiming benefits. Telephone, face-to-face and outreach support cost money and might result in people actually being able to claim the benefits they deserve and no Tory MP wants that.

They won’t end the five-week wait for Universal Credit payments. This plunges people into crushing poverty which is exactly where the Tories want them.

They won’t reintroduce fortnightly payments, to help people manage their money. Tories want benefit claimants to be in a permanent state of panic, poverty and – ultimately – despair. Look at what Mrs Mike said, above. It’s working (and she’s not even on UC).

They won’t end the evil sanction regime. It is unfair and harsh for a reason – to harm poor people.

They won’t scrap the benefit cap. Tories are about denying money to the people who really need it.

They won’t end the two-child limit on benefits and scrap the so-called ‘rape clause’. Despite being described as “immoral and outrageous”, Tories love it because it humiliates women.

They won’t pay the child element of benefits to the primary carer, to ensure that women are no longer forced to stay in abusive relationships by the system. Tories like keeping women in abusive relationships.

They won’t end the Bedroom Tax and increase the Local Housing Allowance to protect people against the threat of eviction. Tories want to pitch poor people into the street. Their homes can then be redeveloped into high-cost dwellings for the very rich, “gentrifying” – and socially-cleansing – whole towns if they can.

They won’t end the “dehumanising” Work Capability Assessments and PIP Assessments. Tories love humiliating the poor and vulnerable, remember.

They won’t stop benefit assessments being contracted-out to private companies and ensure that all benefit assessments are carried out by government employees in future. Privatisation is a Tory mantra. While it encourages corruption, it also puts any harm caused to claimants at arms’-length from the Tory government itself.

They won’t increase Employment and Support Allowance for people in the Work-Related Activity Group. Tories are about putting people into poverty and debt, remember.

Oh, and they won’t put people right when they ask Labour MPs why they aren’t putting a stop to the hate-filled persecution that is on its way.

Labour can’t stop the coming Tory wall of hate. Your vote put a stop to that.

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De-criminalisation plan to transform the way government handles homelessness

On the streets: Current laws mean councils could take punitive action against these people, just because they are unfortunate enough not to have a place to live.

A new plan will replace the criminalisation of the homeless with compassion – so of course it isn’t coming from the Conservatives.

Labour is planning to repeal the archaic Vagrancy Act of 1824, and to restrict the use of measures in other laws that have been misused to attack people living rough.

Catriona Gray of the Labour Homelessness Campaign explained on the LabourList website:

The Vagrancy Act 1824 was passed during a period of intense land privatisation to criminalise homeless people including destitute ex-soldiers and migrants. It makes it a criminal offence to sleep “in any deserted or unoccupied building, or in the open air, or under a tent, or in any cart or waggon, not having any visible means of subsistence”. Although now entirely repealed in Scotland, the Act remains on the statute book in England and Wales as a catch-all piece of legislation still used to prosecute people for begging and rough sleeping.

As well as repealing the archaic Vagrancy Act, the motion being debated on the conference floor tomorrow opposes the use of various ‘anti-social behaviour’ measures used to control, punish and fine people experiencing homelessness.

Under the broadly drafted Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, councils can make what are termed ‘Public Space Protection Orders’ (PSPOs) to ban activities they deem to have a detrimental effect on others. PSPOs carry on-the-spot fines of £100, with a fine of up to £1,000 and potential prosecution for non-compliance. In some cases, Labour councils are utilising the powers granted under this Tory legislation to enact PSPOs which criminalise activities like ‘aggressive begging’ (broadly defined to include, for example, begging near a cashpoint) and rough sleeping.

Other measures like Criminal Behaviour Orders and Community Protection Notices function similarly to criminalise people living in public spaces. This motion makes clear that, as Labour Party members, we expect and demand that our representatives oppose the use of these counterproductive laws.

Ms Gray goes on to state that these changes should be underpinned by transformative housing policies, a humane immigration system, adequate funding for local government, and a social security system that provides a genuine safety net for all.

I would suggest a housing scheme based on the Utah model. Republican state legislators in that US state discovered that the cheapest way to tackle homelessness was simply to give homes to people who would otherwise sleep rough. This cut the cost to the state of related crime and medical care.

The motion goes before Labour’s party conference today (September 25).

Source: Why Labour must offer a radical response to the homelessness crisis – LabourList

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Campaign group’s latest research shows the cruelty of Universal Credit

“Harrowing stories of people forced into debt, rent arrears, homelessness, crime, prostitution, hunger, people unable to afford fares to get to food banks, parents unable to get essentials for their babies, child poverty, worsening mental health, ex-service people considering suicide and even cases of actual suicide.”

These are the results of the Conservative government’s disastrous Universal Credit project, according to campaign group Disabled People Against Cuts.

The organisation has launched a new report in response to repeated attempts by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to “airbrush” the failed benefit’s reputation in the pages of the Metro free newspaper and others.

Here is what DPAC has to say:

“In response to the DWP’s lies trying to minimise the negative impact of Universal Credit (UC), by commissioning unbranded BBC documentaries and media articles highlighting UC success stories, Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) has compiled a damning record of UC systemic and catastrophic failures.

“This record draws on local and national press and media articles, government and research reports.   While the DWP bleat that UC is unfairly vilified the reality is that UC had always been a disaster for claimants and has already wasted millions of pounds.

“It has now reached a point where it is unable to adapt to claimants’ complex circumstances, and is forcing people with the least resources into further poverty, homelessness, and hunger.  These failures are driven by ideology. Making claimants wait for their first payment on the pretext that this mirrors the circumstances of working people is another DWP fairytale.

“Experts who have looked at UC have also identified design, management and IT issues which cannot be solved by tweaking the system.

“This is why DPAC is calling for UC to be scrapped. It has become a social security system, which not only does not offer security, but actively undermined people’s ability to cope with the hazards of life.

“So far DPAC activists have already removed many thousands of copies of the Metro and will continue to do so whenever a lie about UC is printed. RMT and UNITE members are monitoring each days’ delivery of Metros to help us with this.

“We are also calling for a boycott of Reach newspapers which have also in many cases published and republished one case study of one Job Centre manager saying UC works well. Reach’s Director, Helen Stevenson, is coincidentally a former non-executive director of DWP.”

Download the Report:

DPAC Report – Hunger Debt Homelessness Crime Prostitution and Suicide – Universal Credit Media Articles – May 2019

Source: Press Release: DPAC’s latest research shows the cruelty of Universal Credit – DPAC

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Tories have DELIBERATELY increased poverty in the UK, according to UN inspector

Professor Philip Alston: He came to his conclusions by listening to people affected by Conservative policies on the poor, sick and disabled. Tories implemented those policies by ignoring the very same people – and now they have vowed to ignore Professor Alston.

The United Nations’ special rapporteur on poverty, Philip Alston, has said he believes the UK’s Conservative government deliberately increased poverty in the country, for ideological reasons.

He said the harm done to the poorest and most vulnerable could be reversed with very little investment; all that is needed is the political will. Sadly, we all know that a change of government will be required to achieve this.

The Tories themselves confirmed this, by stating that they do not recognise the findings of Professor Alston’s report. Clearly they will not act upon those findings either.

In an interview with Channel 4 News, he said the following:

And this is from his verbal report:

A wealth of material has appeared about this – mostly on the social media (and we’ll discuss the reasons for this below), so it is possible to put together a good summary of the report, the reaction to it, and wider issues from that. So here are the headlines:

Here’s the underlying implication – that the Tory government intended to create this problem for the people of the UK in order to achieve “radical social re-engineering”:

Professor Alston said the situation could change overnight with very little investment, if there was a different government:

But the current government is unlikely to do anything because it is in a “state of denial”:

https://twitter.com/Anoosh_C/status/1063402905569583107

It is well worth noting that Professor Alston used the words “hostile environment” to describe the Conservative government’s policies brings to mind the Windrush Scandal – and the Department for Work and Pensions, which is responsible for so many of the policies which have caused the harm, is now being run by the woman who took the rap for Windrush – Amber Rudd.

The effect of Tory policies on women was highlighted by the special rapporteur:

This Site suggested yesterday that Esther McVey resigned as Work and Pensions Secretary, not because of Brexit but because she did not want to face the criticism she would receive from Professor Alston. In his report, he revealed that he had met Ms McVey – and her comments were alarming:

https://twitter.com/Anoosh_C/status/1063405551852404736

One can see why she may not have wanted to stick around for the fallout from that. Instead, as Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell points out, they “manipulate statistics” and “refuse to accept responsibility”.

And how do they get away with it? The answer is obvious:

Excellent points. And if you think the BBC isn’t hiding important facts from you, were you aware of the following?

No? Then the BBC, together with other right-wing news organisations, has been hiding the facts from us all.

We need responsible news media, holding the government to account for its actions, and a cabinet minister willing to accept the facts and act on them in the national interest.

We have been given Amber Rudd.

I said it before and I’ll say it again: This would be a farce if not for the fact that people are dying.

Tory Torbay Council excludes charity from homelessness count – for speaking out on Universal Credit?

Remember Humanity Torbay – the charity for homeless and vulnerable people whose boss Ellie Waugh spoke out about the harm and hardship being wrought upon the people of her area by the implementation of the Tories’ cruel and misnamed Universal Credit?

If not, have a quick read of This Site’s previous article on the subject.

Now it seems Conservative-run Torbay Council has cut the charity out of an annual count of homeless people in the area, in spite-fuelled revenge for Ms Waugh’s exposure of the Universal Credit fiasco.

Don’t take my word for it, here’s Ms Waugh herself:

https://www.facebook.com/HumanityTorbay/videos/734447450287393/

What an excuse for a government!

This organisation is doing hugely valuable work showing the real effect of government policy on the people of the UK. In a sane country, the government would be falling over itself with gratitude.

But the Tories are falling over themselves to penalise Humanity Torbay.

The reason is clear: They don’t want anybody to know that their policies are causing homelessness to proliferate. They want us to think the situation is fine. And they will attack anyone who says otherwise.

Twisted.

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Homelessness has increased massively under the Tories – AFTER 449 rough sleepers died in a single year

This is a shocking indication of the Conservative government’s real policy towards the homeless.

Last year, I quoted a report that homelessness had increased by 134 per cent since the general election in 2010. Today, that figure stands at 169 per cent. That is an enormous increase.

Worse still, after the Conservatives announced that they were going to end homelessness by 2027, we have discovered that 449 rough sleepers died within a single year.

That’s compared with 300 deaths over five years, between 2013 and April this year.

I have said the real Tory policy isn’t to end homelessness by getting rough sleepers into homes and jobs; the plan is to kill these people off. By that standard, I imagine the Tories think 449 deaths is a good start.

Anyone with the slightest speck of decency about them would consider it an abomination against some of the most vulnerable people of the United Kingdom.

Labour has made a video clip to hammer the facts home:

And some of our favourite campaigners made it personal, pointing out that people like Theresa May (for example) have not been honest with us:

The figures should make it perfectly clear that there is no way the Conservatives will ever make life better for people who have been reduced to living rough on the streets.

And let’s be clear on this: Rough sleepers aren’t “scroungers”. They aren’t “lazy”. They haven’t chosen to live that way, either.

The figures don’t lie.

They became homeless because the Tory government wanted them to be. And now they are dying because the Tory government wants them to die.

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All over the world, smarter people than Tories have found the answer to homelessness: Give people homes!

The solution to homelessness that is currently being practised to such great effect in Finland is geared towards those with addictions – but is essentially no different to the Utah plan This Writer reported three years ago.

The benefits are the same – to the homeless and to society as a whole.

It is amazing, then, that there may still be “sceptics” arguing against this solution that saves money and resources.

Who are these people? Tories?

As homelessness has rocketed in the UK – up 134% since 2010 – it has fallen by 35% in Finland over a similar period of time. The Finnish government is now aiming to abolish it altogether in the coming years.

It turns out its solution is painfully simple and blindingly obvious: give homes to homeless people.

Sceptics will argue that giving homes to homeless people is a recipe for disaster. Aren’t we just subsidising addiction? Won’t we end up with huge bills when it all goes wrong? Don’t people need an incentive to get their lives back on track and engage in services?

Actually, no. The evidence from Finland – as well as numerous other pilot schemes across the world – shows the opposite is true. When people are given homes, homelessness is radically reduced, engagement in support services goes up and recovery rates from addiction are comparable to a “treatment first” approach. Even more impressive is that there are overall savings for government, as people’s use of emergency health services and the criminal justice system is lessened.

Source: Finland has found the answer to homelessness. It couldn’t be simpler | Harry Quilter-Pinner | Opinion | The Guardian


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Rough sleeper numbers rise in Wales

Gary has slept rough in Newport for two years [Image: BBC].

Tory policies in action.

David Gauke, when he was Work and Pensions secretary, reckoned he was going to halve rough sleeping by 2022, and eliminate it by 2027.

Does anybody – anybody? – haveany confidence in that crazy claim?

The number of rough sleepers has risen in Wales according to new figures.

An overnight count from November 2017 showed there was 188 individuals on the streets – 47 more than in 2016.

Now homeless charities are calling on more to be done to help change the habits of rough sleepers.

Some rough sleepers say they choose to sleep in tents rather than seeking refuge at homeless shelters while others are asked to leave shelters for a variety of reasons.

Source: Rough sleeper numbers rise in Wales


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Utter failure by the Tories on crime and homelessness

Knife crime has increased by 21% in the 12 months to September [Image: Diverse Images/Getty Images/Universal Images Group].

Figures released today (January 25) show that the Conservative Government has failed abjectly to reduce crime or homelessness.

Both have risen, with crime up by 14 per cent in the last year – and homelessness up by a staggering 169 per cent since the Tories came back into office in 2010.

Here‘s The Guardian on the rise in crime:

The rise in crime in England and Wales is accelerating, with a 14% year-on-year increase in offences recorded by forces across England and Wales, according to police figures.

Knife crime has gone up even more steeply, by 21% in the 12 months to September, and gun crime has risen by 20%, according to quarterly figures released on Thursday.

The police figures show domestic burglary rose by 32% to 261,965 offences and vehicle thefts rose 18% to 443,577.

Meanwhile, official figures show the number of police officers in England and Wales has fallen by 930 in the past 12 months, to 121,929, the lowest level since comparable records began in 1996. Police officer numbers are now 22,424 below their peak in 2009, when there were 144,353 officers.

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott had this to say about it:

“These figures are truly shocking and should put an end to Government complacency on crime.

“The Tories are failing in a basic duty to protect the public. They have now cut over 21,000 police officers since 2010, leaving forces across the country under-staffed and over-stretched.  Police numbers are now at their lowest in 30 years. You can’t fight crime on the cheap.

“These statistics are an indictment of this Conservative Government’s policies. Labour will address this crisis and recruit 10,000 new police officers.”

Let’s go back to The Guardian for the word on homelessness:

Rough sleeping in England has increased for the seventh consecutive year, official figures show, and charities say even this steep rise fails to capture the true level of street homelessness.

Statistics published by the government on Thursday reveal that an estimated 4,751 people bedded down outside overnight in 2017, up 15% on the previous year.

Homelessness charities said the figures, up 169% since 2010, were a catastrophe and a scandal, while Labour blamed government policies for what it called the “shameful” figures and promised to eliminate rough sleeping in the first term of a Labour administration.

Remember when the Tories were banging on about having a “long-term plan”?

If this is the result, nobody should be impressed.


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