With all the Brexit turmoil in the few days since Parliament returned from its summer break, you’ll be forgiven if you missed the announcement (tucked away in Chancellor Sajid Javid’s spending review) that Local Authorities are to be given an extra £54 million of new funding to address homelessness and rough sleeping.
One of the official tweets that accompanied Javid’s speech made clear that the £54 million was new funding, to be added to funds that have already been allocated to address the problem of homelessness. The total figure is now £422 million. Shelter estimate that the number of homeless people in the UK is around 320,000 – so that amounts to just £1,318.75 per person. In truth, Shelter’s figures are likely to be an underestimate as they do not take into account the ‘hidden homeless’ – those who are sofa-surfing or not registered for any support services.
“On any given night, too many people are sleeping rough on our streets. The human cost of that is too high. Today we do more - with £54m of new funding to reduce homelessness and rough sleeping, taking it to a total funding to £422m.” #SpendingRound pic.twitter.com/fOJNLQobYH
— HM Treasury (@hmtreasury) September 4, 2019
As impressive as £54 million sounds it is a reversal of just 1.08% of the amount that has been stripped from homelessness related services during the years of austerity. According to an analysis by WPI Economics (working in conjunction with charities representing homeless people) £5 billion would have been spent on homelessness related services if spending had been kept at the levels it was at during the 2008/9 fiscal year.
Mary Creagh, the Labour MP for Wakefield, described the spending review as “utterly pointless”. The House of Commons emptied leaving Javid delivering his speech to near empty benches. With a General Election looking increasingly imminent, an incoming government won’t be bound by any of his figures.
Javid is apparently willing to rewrite fiscal rules – put in place by George Osborne to impose deficit reduction as a priority for future Chancellors – to generate extra spending when the Conservatives need to look generous before an election. The homelessness figures tell a small story in a larger picture of cuts to crucial services across the board.
What Else Can Be Done?
We don’t think politicians are going to sort this out. Just look at their track record! We founded Kanndoo with the intention of solving social problems using the efficiencies of the business world’s approach to economic problems. We are not a charity and we don't get handouts from the government or from anyone else. We generate turnover through the sale of our apps and the advertising space on our apps and the profits go to funding projects that help homeless people.
If you would like to get involved in the Kanndoo project, please get in touch. You can start by downloading one of our apps. They are fun, useful, and the proceeds go to helping those in need.