I was pleased to have raised the important and great work of Sutton Council in building new Council homes in Sutton in Parliament last week.
It was sad to see this attacked by local Tory MP Paul Scully. Rough sleeping and homelessness is on the rise across the country under this Conservative government and they must do more to tackle this.
Recent figures showed that rough sleeping has increased by one third since 2015 under this Conservative government. This is shameful and shows that they have failed to take real action to tackle the housing crisis. Until the Government commits to the funding needed to prevent homelessness and enable Councils to build more genuinely affordable homes, and invests properly in mental health care, the number of rough sleepers will continue to rise at a shocking pace. The government must ensure that all local authorities have what they need to tackle this problem, with at least one provider of the Housing First model of provision for long-term, entrenched homeless people.
Furthermore, the charity Shelter revealed in December that roughly 128,000 children were homeless on Christmas Day. These figures are utterly damning, unacceptable and frankly tragic.
This is why tackling rough sleeping and the wider issue of homelessness is one of the Liberal Democrats' top priorities. We need tougher measures to tackle soaring rental costs and protect families from being evicted at short notice and we outlined our plans in our 2017 General Election Manifesto to restore the housing benefit for young people that the Tories stripped (I welcome the fact that they have now performed a u-turn) and we also outlined our plans to build 500,000 affordable homes by 2022 (https://bit.ly/2FtjJAQ).