Prioritising Homelessness & Rough Sleeping
The headline claims of the manifestos are much the same, the Lib Dems and Labour will end rough sleeping within five years and the Conservatives promise the same by the end of the next parliament.
There is a certain amount of political posturing about the rise in rough-sleeping with the Lib Dems dating the rise to the recession in 2008 before their time in government, Labour placing the blame firmly in 2010 and with, what they call the ‘Conservatives’ but which was more accurately the Coalition and the Conservatives not mentioning the rise in rough sleeping and homelessness at all.
The Liberal Democrats are the only of the three main parties to dedicate a section of their manifesto specifically to ending rough sleeping. The full document includes the words homeless or homelessness 6 times with 5 explicit mentions of rough sleeping. Labour rack up 11 mentions of either homelessness or homeless and name check rough sleeping 3 times. The Conservatives mention both terms twice.
The Liberal Democrats and Labour both plan for cross government strategy on homelessness with the Lib Dems promising a ‘cross-Whitehall plan to end all forms of homelessness’ and Labour offering a ‘prime minister led taskforce’ on the matter. The Conservatives make no particular pledges. However, they have already established a cross-departmental Rough Sleeping Initiative in 2018 and it seems logical to assume that this group would continue to exist under a renewed Conservative government. In 2017, the Department for Communities and Local Government was renamed the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government in recognition of the importance of housing in the Government's strategy.