General election 2019: Javid's homelessness statistics queried


Sajid JavidImage copyright
AFP

The chancellor’s use of statistics has been questioned after he said the number of homeless people peaked in 2008, under the last Labour government.

The UK Statistics Authority received complaints after Sajid Javid made the claim on Sky News and BBC Radio 5 Live on 5 December.

Mr Javid also said that since then the number has decreased by almost half.

The Conservative Party has since said that the chancellor misremembered the statistics.

The UK Statistics Authority, an independent body, says figures from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government show that “statutory homelessness in England peaked in 2003 before falling to a low of around 42,000 households in 2009.

“Between 2009 and 2017, statutory homelessness then increased from this low point to around 58,000 households.”

It added: “Other statistics show that there has been an increasing trend in the number of households living in temporary accommodation over the last decade.

Following recommendations made by the Authority in 2015, MHCLG have been improving the UK’s suite of homelessness statistics.”

On the same day as Mr Javid made the statements, Labour announced new plans to tackle homelessness, including £100m a year for emergency winter shelters, £600m to build new hostels, and £200m to refurbish existing ones.

Separately, the Liberal Democrats have said they would end rough sleeping in England within five years,

Their plans include introducing a duty on local authorities to provide immediate emergency accommodation and abolishing no-fault evictions.

The Conservatives, Labour and the Green Party have also said they want to end rough sleeping.



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