Steve McCabe MP (Birmingham, Selly Oak) has expressed outrage at figures released today which show an estimated 726 homeless people died in 2018, a 22% rise on the previous year. In the Commons he told the new Housing Minister, Luke Hall (Con. Thornbury and Yate) to end the ludicrous Housing Association ‘Right to Buy’ Lottery Project which has already cost over £10M and resulted in only 180 transactions across both East and West Midlands and divert the money to an emergency aid programme. Steve McCabe called on the minister to admit the scheme was a daft idea and a waste of public money and to commit the remaining £190M to an emergency budget to prevent the spectacle of more vulnerable people freezing to death on the streets this winter.
See Steve’s question to the Minister here
The figures were released today by the Office of National Statistics and show that the number of deaths of homeless people in 2018 saw the highest yearly increase since data collecting began. In Birmingham, there were 23 estimated homeless deaths in 2018 up from the 18 in 2017. The figures also show deaths by drug poisoning have seen a sharp increase causing an estimated 294 deaths across the UK in 2018 up from 190 in 2017. The statistics clearly indicate a growing problem which needs early intervention and investment in vital support services.
Homelessness charities have expressed their deep concerns about the rising figures and called for an urgent response. They want a clear commitment to protect homeless people and action to prevent the spiralling number of deaths.
Commenting on the figures Steve McCabe MP said,
“The figures released today are a painful reminder of the devastating impact of Conservative policies. We need a government committed to real action to help the most vulnerable. They ought to scrap the ludicrous Housing Association lottery which is simply wasting public money and use the rest of the budget to prevent people from freezing to death on our streets this winter. These figures demonstrate how useless words and conference slogans can be. We need urgent action and a government committed to dealing with this appalling situation”