Labour’s leader in Leicestershire, Cllr Amanda Hack, has written to the Conservative Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, calling on the government to scrap a proposal to criminalise the use of tents by homeless people.
In the letter, Councillor Hack draws on her professional experience providing support services for the homeless in the East Midlands. She blames the policies of successive Conservative governments for the spiralling number of rough sleepers and calls out the Home Secretary’s choice of language. Describing homelessness as a ‘lifestyle choice’ is “At best misguided, at worst simply cruel”, writes Cllr Hack.
Speaking ahead of today’s King’s Speech, in which the heavily trailed policy is likely to feature, Cllr Hack said:
“The causes of homelessness are varied and complex, but in a majority of cases, it can be attributed to childhood trauma, poor mental health and substance misuse resulting in addiction and a drift into criminal behaviour.
Banning tents may help to shore up the Conservative’s rapidly declining support, but it won’t make any difference to the homeless problem. I share the view expressed by UK charity leaders, which warns of a preventable rise in street deaths if the policy goes ahead.
The homeless problem is not a lifestyle choice; it comes as a direct result of failed government policies.”