Like many of my colleagues, I was shocked to hear of the sad death of a homeless man ‘at the door of Parliament’ – as put well by my colleague Thelma Walker MP – despite the fact he was employed as a kitchen assistant by Westminster. He was sleeping on the streets in December, a time where the rest of us are worrying about the turkey or the presents, not our next meal or whether we will survive the night. It is evident that ‘finding work’ does not always ‘save lives’ as the Tories insist.
In the past five years, the number of deaths among the homeless has risen by 24% under this Tory government. Homeless men can expect to live to 44, and women just 42. For each person you see sleeping on the street, there is one more sleeping in a car or tent who also need our help. At this time of year, it is imperative that we extend festive generosity to helping homeless people in any way we can, whether that be donations to charities, giving food on your way to work, or gifting vital items like sleeping bags or even just a pair of socks.
I am committed to pressurising our Tory government into prioritising funding for vital services that are key to the survival of our homeless population as well as developing housing and funding for homelessness charities. I find it despicable that in a nation as wealthy as ours, people are dying on the streets from the cold. After recent Parliamentary pantomime, I, alongside many of my colleagues, would like to see more press attention devoted instead to the welfare of the homeless.
Please spare a thought this Christmas for those less fortunate than ourselves who are surviving this weather alone at Christmas. I strongly urge you to consider donating to or helping charities such as Shelter UK, or more locally in my constituency to the Welcome Centre or Huddersfield Mission, who do great work.
As well as this, I would like to wish my constituents and all others a very Merry Christmas. I hope it is a well deserved break and restful time for all of you.