Shocking figures released today show rough sleeping in Birmingham has increased by over 500% since 2010. The Department for Communities and Local Government have released their annual figures for rough sleeping across the UK. The statistics show yet another shocking rise in homelessness and rough sleeping in Birmingham and across the UK.
Local authorities’ counts and estimates show that 4,134 people slept rough in England on a snapshot night in autumn 2016. This is up 565 from the autumn 2015 total of 3,569. The same figures have shown that Birmingham is one of the 10 local authorities with the highest rough sleeping counts.
The challenge of assisting some of the most vulnerable people in the city to find suitable accommodation continues to grow as the council faces unprecedented cuts. In December Steve McCabe MP, Birmingham Selly Oak secured a Westminster Hall debate to draw attention to the government’s catastrophic funding plans for Birmingham which are resulting in devastating cuts to vital services. The City’s nine Labour MPs wrote to the Chancellor before November’s Autumn Statement to plead for fairer funding for Birmingham. The City Council and NHS have now revealed they are facing a funding gap of £150 million next year.
Steve McCabe MP said:
“It is shocking that since the Tories have been in government rough sleeping has increased over 500% in Birmingham. These latest figures are shameful but probably won’t come as a surprise to many of us here in Birmingham. What we are seeing is the human cost and natural result of sustained attacks on funding for local authorities across the country which is leaving vital services in crisis.
“Our Council is one of the hardest hit by unfair Tory funding arrangements. We are now seeing services cut to the bone or disappearing completely. This is nothing short of political vandalism. The Government needs to cease this spiteful behaviour towards our city and act now to provide Birmingham with a fairer funding deal.”
“The government also urgently needs a clear plan to help the homeless and to address the root causes of homelessness. I support the Homelessness Reduction Bill but this is a Private Member’s Bill which places new obligations on local councils without new money. We need urgent action, failure to do so will be a betrayal of some of our society’s most vulnerable.”