POLITICS

'A Home Is A Human Right' : Labour Activist Hits Out As Homelessness Rockets In The UK

'I got more coins and gave out more change, but it wasn’t enough and of course it can’t ever be enough.'

27/09/2017 15:47

 A Labour activist delivered an emotional speech on homelessness after encountering a growing number of rough sleepers. 

Jessie Jacobs told the party’s conference “a home is a human right” but homelessness had doubled under the Conservatives and she feared it would explode as Universal Credit was rolled out.  

It comes after Jeremy Corbyn made housing a central plank of his keynote speech at the annual event in Brighton, where homelessness has hit a record high. 

Jacobs attacked the Government’s “shameful” record and said: “When I arrived on Friday I ran out of spare change as I tried to give at least something to the many, many homeless people that I met. 

“Then yesterday, I got more coins and gave out more change, but it wasn’t enough and of course it can’t ever be enough because one person giving out change is not what is needed. 

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Jeremy Corbyn gives his Leader's Speech during the Labour Party conference in Brighton

“What is needed is not spare change but real, transformative change.” 

Jacobs, a delegate from Durham City CLP, added: “A home is a right, a human right and we must fight with all that we have to win a Labour government and provide the housing people need.”

She went on: “Brighton as it turns out has more homeless people than anywhere else in the country other than London. 

“It seems like every shop doorway has become a place to sleep and each alleyway a home to a cardboard house. 

“Why? It is shamefull and what has gone wrong? Why are there more homeless people here now than when I was here two years ago. 

“Well, here’s a clue, it begins with a c and ends with an s - the Conservatives. 

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“Homelessness has doubled under the Conservatives and it will get worse as Universal Credit is rolled out in many more towns and cities across the UK, more and more vulnerable people will find themselves unable to make rent and turfed out on the street.

“What does it mean when the world’s fifth richest economy is turfing more and more people out on the streets. Can we continue to call ourselves great, when we build our greatness on the backs of the poor and weak and vulnerable. I think not. 

“So I say to Mrs May and her Government, who call themselves patriots: You are failing this nation when you fail the vulnerable.” 

During his speech, Corbyn told the hall a Labour government led by him would:

* Ensure that “every home is fit for human habitation”.

* Introduce rent controls – to help young people burdened by housing costs “three times more than those of their grandparents”.

* Tax undeveloped land held by developers with the power to compulsorily purchase, to ensure they “use it or lose it”.

* Ensure redevelopments are “for the benefit of the local people, not private developers, not property speculators”, with compulsory ballots before schemes go ahead.

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