When any Government chooses to commit resources to a matter that is a clear need and has led to the deaths of 600 people over the last year, it is clearly to be welcomed. However if they are not new in post and if the number of deaths has been rising over the previous 7 years (since they were elected) and the numbers of people impacted by the cause has been rising substantially over that same period it seems perfectly reasonable to expect there to be a level of sober humility and admission of mistakes. Tragically our current Government seems like many of its predecessors to fail to understand how the nation cries out for some integrity from people who make all sorts of promises until they reach the place of power and then forget that they claimed to be honest and competent.
On Thursday James Brokenshire, The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government stated at the beginning of a debate on homelessness “Early intervention and prevention are the key, and that has been the focus of the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017, which came into force in April this year. We will continue to work tirelessly with local authorities and partners across the country to ensure we provide the advice and support they need, but I recognise that this cold weather period is a particularly difficult time. That is why I launched an additional £5 million cold weather fund in October. The fund has already enabled us to increase outreach work further and to extend winter shelter provision, providing more than 400 additional bed spaces…..The Government are committed to halving rough sleeping by 2022 and ending it by 2027. Last week, we published our rough-sleeping strategy delivery plan, which sets out how we will do this.”
Whilst James is relatively new to his role, which he took on at the end of April this year, he cannot act as if he or indeed his party are unaware of the failings of their policies since May 2010 when they came to power. If they are serious about wanting to [begin to] work tirelessly with local authorities and partners, they need to be willing to admit their failings over the previous 7 years as these partners and local authorities are very well aware of the abject failure that has occurred under the oversight of Brokenshire, Javid, Clark and Pickles and their more junior housing ministers who have changed significantly since 2010.