General election: Sajid Javid’s big lie must be called out – Brian Wilson

A sculpture of a 'homeless Jesus' sleeping rough in Glasgow city centre (Picture: John Devlin)
A sculpture of a 'homeless Jesus' sleeping rough in Glasgow city centre (Picture: John Devlin)
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Chancellor Sajid Javid’s claim that homelessness has halved since 2008 is not supported by the statistics or the evidence of one’s own eyes, writes Brian Wilson.

I salute Dame Louise Casey, former government Homelessness Tsar, for her response to the outrageous claims made by Sajid Javid in a Sky News interview.

Javid asserted that homelessness peaked under Labour in 2008 and, since then – partly under his gallant Tory Government – had almost halved. The evidence of one’s own eyes suggests the exact opposite – as do the statistics.

Dame Louise did not mince her words: “What is he on,” she asked, “to just sit there and hand out lie after lie?”

She was right. A lie is a lie – and should be called out as such, without taking refuge in polite euphemisms. The deterrent effect might be significant.

Since 2010, the estimated number of rough sleepers in England has increased by 165 per cent, according to official government figures. This certainly accords with the evidence of one’s own eyes.

READ MORE: 45 homeless people died in Glasgow last year, according to official stats

READ MORE: Homelessness having ‘devastating impact’ on rising numbers of people in Scotland

I heard all this after walking along Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street. It was like a scene from the Third World with poor drenched souls begging in every doorway. Utterly shameful.

The same scenes – which had almost disappeared a decade ago – are again the norm. The hidden victims are even worse with 135,000 children throughout Britain living in temporary accommodation, according to Shelter.

It is not rocket science that the way to combat homelessness is to create more homes people can afford to live in. That is what we should be voting for in a general election yet the very idea is mocked by Javid and co.

Neither should any politician responsible for Universal Credit escape from the fact it has led to many now on the streets losing their rented accommodation. If Javid’s big lie helps to bring these real human issues to belated prominence in the election campaign, it will have served a purpose he did not intend.