Branch Secretary :

Election issue: Rough sleeping rising

New rough sleepers in London soar by 15%


The number of new rough sleepers in London has risen by a shocking 15%; new figures from CHAIN (Combined Homelessness Information Network) for January to March show an overall increase of 7% on previous years and record a disturbing 1,370 first time rough sleepers.


Overall, rough sleeping in England has risen by 16% in the last year and has more than doubled in the last five.  Our branch members working with rough sleepers delivering homelessness services report that they are increasingly hard pressed.


Quite rightly, John Sparkes, CEO of the charity Crisis has said, “Whoever wins the General Election must make ending rough sleeping a top priority once they are elected.” But that has to mean a break with the austerity policies driving the rise in rough sleeping.


Inevitable result of governemnt policies


Suzanne Muna, Unite housing workers secretary and Unite executive member commented, "The rise in rough sleeping is unacceptable. But it is the inevitable result of government policies".


* Damaging cuts to the funding of homelessness services will need to be reversed.

* Catastrophic cuts to the NHS including mental health services and social would need to be reversed.

*Benefit cuts are putting even the most affordable social housing out of reach for some families; they need to be reversed. 

* Social housing itself is scarce and funding for new social rented housing has been stopped; that needs to change. 

* Private landlords charge unaffordable rents and often the accommodation is substandard; we need action to regulate landlords. 

* Insecure jobs, including zero hours contracts and low pay make it hard to meet housing costs; we need a workers charter.


Concerned members will look at the content of the party manifestos, but we already know that Jeremy Corbyn has moved Labour to an anti austerity position and its pledges already meet the points above.


You can check Labour's pledges here


They include a pledge to "build a million new homes in five years, with at least half a million council homes."


Read more about Jeremy Corbyn's "Workers Charter", including the call for £10 an hour, on the National Shop Stewards Network website here


Come to our next branch meeting where will will have time to discuss the election - all members welcome: Tuesday 9th May 6.30 Unite HQ, 128 Theobalds Rd, London WC1X 8TN



Paul Kershaw



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