Sadiq Khan pledges to end rough sleeping in capital by 2030

The Mayor of London has announced a manifesto pledge to end rough sleeping in the capital by 2030.

Sadiq Khan promised to “condemn the scandal of rough sleeping to history”, should he be re-elected on May 2.

The commitment would come at a cost of £10 million in new Ending Homelessness Hubs and help some 1,700 rough sleepers off the streets.

It comes in response to the capital recording its highest level of homelessness in a decade, despite City Hall’s budget for rough sleeping increasing from £8.45 million in 2016 to £36.3 million in 2023.

Mr Khan told the PA news agency: “Rough sleeping across the country has more than doubled since 2010 and a big factor is Government policy.

“What we have seen since 2016 when I was first elected is more than 16,000 rough sleepers taken off our streets, more than three quarters off permanently.”

The mayor outlined £10 million in spending plans, expressed an intention to work closer with councils and charities, and noted the tireless work of outreach teams.

In a speech at St John’s Church, Waterloo, Mr Khan said: “A vote for Labour on May 2 is a vote to end the indignity, fear and isolation felt by those forced to endure a life on the street once and for all.”

Mr Khan said the choice of venue was pertinent and offered reason to be hopeful.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan outlined spending plans (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“This church, this community has lived through cardboard city, the almost ending of rough sleeping in the noughties and the rise again”, he said, adding: “That’s why I’m hopeful we can end rough sleeping by the end of this decade.”

The church is located in an area of Waterloo that was once home to “cardboard city”, a sprawl of improvised living conditions housing some 200 homeless people. Mr Khan said this served as a “symbol of mass deprivation” and its current absence was “an inspiration”.

The mayor was hopeful that a Labour government would help deliver the widespread improvements, telling PA: “Let me be quite clear – for us to end rough sleeping for good by the end of this decade will also need a Labour government.”

Mr Khan also took the opportunity to dismiss “pay-per-mile” claims from the Conservatives as disinformation and guaranteed that he would not introduce such a charge as mayor.

The mayor has also borne the brunt of criticism aimed at crime in London, with public figures such as England cricketer Kevin Pietersen speaking out on social media.

Last week, Mr Pietersen said he was travelling to London wearing a plastic ring and no watch before sarcastically thanking the mayor.

Sadiq Khan
Sadiq Khan was at St John’s Church in Waterloo (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

On the public jibe, Mr Khan told PA: “I’ve got to say Kevin Pietersen’s century at the Oval was one of the finest innings I’ve ever seen, talking about the Ashes in 2005, I’m a big fan of him as a cricketer.

“What’s clear though is the issue of crime is a serious one across the country.

“It was a big issue in 2016 when I first ran for mayor, it was a big issue in 2021 and I’m afraid it’s going to carry on being a big issue while we have this Government because we know austerity was a choice and we also know the consequences of austerity – in terms of cuts in police officer numbers, cuts in youth clubs, cuts in youth services.”

The mayor also took aim at the Tories for introducing a first past the post system to the London Mayoral race and changes to voter ID.

He said: “The Conservative Party is the most successful party in the democratic world. Why? Because they win elections and in between elections they change the rules to make it more likely they’ll win.”

Mr Khan was introduced on stage by Marina Ahmad, London Assembly member for Lambeth and Southwark.

“Mr mayor, on behalf of London’s children, thank you”, Ms Ahmad said of Mr Khan’s work during what she described as “the most anti-London government in history”.