Protect Homeless Shelters

Liberal Democrats have called for homeless shelters to be protected from Government welfare reforms amid concerns of the impact of punishing cuts to social rents.

Charities have said threatened funding cuts, which are buried in the Welfare Reform and Work Bill, will mean fewer beds and fewer staff.

The cuts could hit a wide range of supported accommodation, including projects for homeless people and victims of domestic violence.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron visited the Salvation Army’s drop-in centre, in Oxford Street, on Wednesday (December 9) to find out about the organisation’s work.

There are concerns that changes to social rents could cost the Salvation Army up to £1.5 million over the next four years.

He said: “This is yet another example of George Osborne’s ideological cuts to welfare, which simply go too far and punish those who really don’t deserve it.

“He should visit the Salvation Army to see the great work they do every single day of the year and understand this is about more than just a figure on a spreadsheet.

“It is ludicrous for homeless shelters to be caught up in the net of welfare cuts when they meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable people in the UK. With rising rents and a huge shortage of affordable homes, residential homeless shelters are needed now more than ever.”

Liberal Democrat Mayoral candidate Caroline Pidgeon said: “Each year the Mayor spends around £9 million on a range of commissioned pan-London rough sleeping services and projects.

“Now it looks like that budget is going to be cut. As Mayor I promise to work with the boroughs and voluntary organisations in restoring funding so that vital services, like the one being visited today, continue to operate.”​

The party will vote in the House of Lords for an exemption for homeless shelters to social rent cuts in the Welfare Reform and Work Bill.