Heather Wheeler doesnâ€™t know why numbers are rising. A look back over Tory austerity measures could enlighten her
The new â€œhomelessness ministerâ€� has begun her job badly. Heather Wheeler claims not to know why homelessness has risen for seven consecutive years â€“ thatâ€™s every year since she was elected. She has also been gazumped by the Cabinet Office minister, David Lidington, who is also chair of the governmentâ€™s rough sleeping advisory panel. The panel has finally held its first, belated, meeting.
Wheeler needs to get to grips with the brief she has held since January. The first step in tackling any problem is understanding what has caused it. Admitting she doesnâ€™t understand this basic element of her brief is terrible news for homeless people and bodes badly for her governmentâ€™s commitment to halve homelessness by 2022. I welcome this target as co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group for ending homelessness and support the ministerâ€™s claim she will â€œmove heaven and earthâ€� to tackle the problem, but the first step is a hard, objective look at how it has come about.
The governmentâ€™s absence of leadership created a vacuum that charities and others have struggled to fill
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