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Sunday, 28 January 2018

Jeremy Corbyn vows to let rough sleepers move into luxury flats: Labour would buy 8,000 homes and let councils 'take over' empty private properties if it wins power

  • Corbyn said Labour would buy 8,000 properties to rough sleepers a new home 
  • He said current hostel systems made it too hard for people to get off the streets 
  • Labour leader also backed powers for councils to take over empty private flats 
  • Jeremy Corbyn today vowed to buy 8,000 homes and create new powers for councils to take over 'deliberately' empty luxury flats to end rough sleeping. 
    The Labour leader said the country needed 'social priorities' that placed homeless people above the right for foreign investors to buy and sell property off plan.
    Mr Corbyn insisted Labour would intervene on the housing market in a 'number of ways' to help social tenants, private renters and first time buyers. 
    Figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government last week revealed 4,751 people were sleeping rough in 2017 - the highest figure in the eight years rough sleeping has been tracked.
    Some 760 were European nationals while another 402 people refused to reveal a nationality when asked.  
  • Jeremy Corbyn (pictured today on the Andrew Marr show) vowed to buy 8,000 homes and create to new powers for councils to take over 'deliberately' empty luxury flats to end rough sleeping
  • Jeremy Corbyn (pictured today on the Andrew Marr show) vowed to buy 8,000 homes and create to new powers for councils to take over 'deliberately' empty luxury flats to end rough sleeping
  • The Labour leader told Andrew Marr the country needed 'social priorities' that placed homeless people above the right for foreign investors to buy and sell property off plan The Labour leader told Andrew Marr the country needed 'social priorities' that placed homeless people above the right for foreign investors to buy and sell property off plan 
  • Labour said if it wins power, it would also seek to buy up housing association properties when they become vacant and hand them to homeless people instead of making them available again as affordable homes.
    The housing association properties would then be replaced in a wider house building programme. Labour's manifesto claimed it will build 100,000 'genuinely affordable' for renting and buying each year. In an interview with the BBC's Andrew Marr how he would fix rough sleeping, Mr Corbyn said: '(We would) immediately purchase 8,000 properties across the country to give immediate housing to those people that are currently homeless.
    'At the same time we would require local authorities to build far more
  • 'The problem is homeless people, rough sleepers, beg to get money for a night shelter, stay in the night shelter or a hostel.
    'The problem then is move on accommodation, the problem then is not having an address, without which can't get a job or claim benefits.'
    Mr Corbyn agreed there was a major problem with new flats being bought and sold off plan by foreign investors before they are left empty.
    Asked by Marr homeless people should be handed empty luxury flats, the Labour leader said: 'We would give local authorities the power to take over deliberately kept vacant properties.
    'When you have in the middle of an area where there is a lot of housing stress, many people rough sleeping, you have luxury, glossy, glistening block built, sold off plan to long distance overseas investors who may buy it and sell it before it is even built.
    'Let's look at social priorities here. Many people are homeless, many people are living in overcrowded accommodation, many in middle class families children cannot leave home because they cannot raise a deposit for a private rented flat, have no chance of buying and no chance of a council flat.' 

    WHO ARE THE PEOPLE SLEEPING ROUGH?  

    Of the 4,751 rough sleepers counted in autumn 2017:  
    • 653 (14 per cent) were women
    • 760 (16 pr cent) were EU nationals from outside the UK
    • 193 (4 per cent) were from outside the EU.  
    • Nationality of 402 people (8 per cent) was not known – it suggests that some people may not wish to disclose their non-UK nationality. 
    • 370 (8 per cent) were 18 - 25 years old.
    • 3  persons (less than 0.1 per cent) were under 18 years old

    • The number of people sleeping rough in England reached a recorded high of 4,751 in the autumn of last year, new data reveals today - with almost a quarter in London alone 

    • Of the people counted rough sleeping in London there were 1,137. This is an increase of 18 per cent from the 2016 figure of 964. Pictured are rough sleepers in Windsor on Sunday 
    • Of the people counted rough sleeping in London there were 1,137. This is an increase of 18 per cent from the 2016 figure of 964. Pictured are rough sleepers in Windsor on Sunday 
      He added: 'There is something grossly insulting about the idea you would build a luxury block... deliberately keep it empty knowing that with property price inflation the investor is going to make 10 per cent or 12 per cent a year... maybe a bit less but they are going to make a fair amount out of it.
      'Surely we have to have a social objective and a social priority in our society.' Mr Corbyn said Labour make intervention into the market 'in a number of ways'.
      He said there would be more council houses built, life time tenancies at a secure rent and regulation of the private rented sector.
      Mr Corbyn also endorsed a Government backed first time buyer mortgage scheme.  
      Shadow housing secretary John Healey added: 'The rising number of people sleeping on the streets and on park benches shames us all. There can be no excuses – we can end it and we must.
      'Homelessness shames us all but should shame Conservative Ministers most. It is direct consequence of decisions made by the Tories on housing, and on funding for charities and councils.
      'Under the last Labour government, years of sustained action cut rough sleeping by three-quarters, but it has more than doubled since 2010.
      'You can't help the homeless if you don't provide the homes. A Labour government would put a stop to this national scandal and provide those who need it most with a place to call home.'  
    • Shadow housing secretary John Healey said today that a rise in homelessness 'shames us all' 
    • Shadow housing secretary John Healey said today that a rise in homelessness 'shames us all' 

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