Hungry and homeless

by Daphne Liddle

THE CON-DEM Coalition austerity cuts since 2010 have sent homelessness and hunger in Britain soaring.

According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) and the homelessness charity Crisis, the combined effects of the benefit cap, the bedroom tax and the steep rise in the use of benefit sanctions have caused homelessness in Britain to rise by 34 per cent — and many more are on the brink of losing their homes.

The need for food banks to feed people who have no other means of support has soared — but our Government has just rejected a European Union plan for EU funding for food banks throughout Europe.

Cameron thinks the money would be better spent on the futile programmes to force the unemployed and the disabled into jobs that just don’t exist.

He also ignores the reality that, in 2011/12, 13 million people in Britain were living in poverty and more than half of those were in a family that had at least one working member.

The problem here is low pay and excessively high rents. The wealth gap is soaring wider and wider so that although Cameron and Osborne are claiming a recovery and the wealthy one per cent are doing very nicely, they are keeping all the benefits to themselves.

As Boris Johnson proclaimed a week ago, these are the people who think that greed is good and ambition keeps the wheels of the economy turning.

No Boris, it is work done by workers that keeps the wheels turning but they will not turn much longer if you are starving workers and making then homeless.

The wealth the workers create is being hoovered up into the pockets of the elite but those pockets are huge and water-tight — nothing is trickling down from them.

The pavements of London are again filling up with the sleeping bags of people who have been pushed out into the cold by the rich greedy thugs who want everything for themselves.

The findings from state-of the nation report The Homelessness Monitor: England an independent study published annually by Crisis and the JRF that analyses the impact on homelessness of economic and policy developments show that young adults, people of black or mixed ethnicities and those from deprived areas were more likely to have been homeless.

Homelessness has risen for three consecutive years. The research identifies a housing “pressure cooker”, particularly in London and the South East.

A lack of supply and rising housing costs, cuts to benefits and to services are combining to leave people already struggling to keep their heads above water at increased risk of homelessness. Those already homeless are being left even further away from help. The situation is expected to get worse.

Leslie Morphy, chief executive of Crisis, said: “We keep hearing that the economy is on the mend. Yet as we watch our GDP figures slowly rise, cuts to housing benefit and woefully inadequate house building will keep pushing up homelessness.

“Shamefully, it is the poorest and most vulnerable who are bearing the brunt.

“We need the Government to address the chronic lack of affordable housing, take real steps to improve the private rented sector and to urgently consider the impact its cuts to housing benefit are having, particularly in the capital.”

Julia Unwin, Chief Executive of JRF, said: “Homelessness is the tragic consequence of failures in our housing system and carries enormous cost for both the people facing destitution and society as a whole.

“To avoid these figures going in the wrong direction, we need to address the underlying causes of homelessness urgently. That means building the affordable homes this country desperately needs and providing a proper safety net for when people are unfortunate enough to fall on hard times.”

Most of all, we need to get rid of capitalism and the rule of the class that is so greedy it is stealing from us all.