Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran has slammed the Conservatives for “failing the most vulnerable”, as analysis of new rough sleeping statistics shows that the Government is significantly off track on its target of eliminating rough sleeping by 2024.
The Conservatives announced the revised target, which was previously 2027, after the election in December.
The latest Rough sleeping snapshot, published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, shows that there were an estimated 4,266 rough sleepers in England on any given night in Autumn 2019, a reduction of just 411 people (8.8%) on 2018’s figure.
Analysis by the House of Commons Library shows that, in order to reach zero by 2024, there would need to be a reduction of 780 rough sleepers each year from the 4,677 recorded in 2018. The reduction of 411 from 2018 to 2019 therefore put the Government well off track to meet its target.
Responding to the figures, Layla Moran said: “These figures underline the Tories’ failure when it comes to rough sleeping and homelessness. They are letting down some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
“Having a target to eliminate rough sleeping by 2024 is all well and good, but the data shows just how off track the Government is. We need actions, not just words.
“The Conservatives must implement a more compassionate and holistic approach, if they are to get any closer to their goal. That starts with scrapping the Vagrancy Act, a Dickensian law that criminalises rough sleeping in England and Wales. The answer to ending rough sleeping is not to arrest those doing it.”