Sajid Javid 'misremembered' statistics when he blamed Labour for rise in homelessness, Tories admit

Katy Clifton
Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid: AFP via Getty Images

Sajid Javid "misremembered" statistics when he claimed Labour was behind a "massive rise" in homelessness in the UK, the Tories have said.

The Chancellor told Sky News on Thursday that "homelessness reached its peak in 2008 under the last Labour government, since then it's down by almost half".

"It's Labour that was responsible for the massive rise in homelessness," he added.

Mr Javid faced a backlash for the claim, with a number of organisations saying that homelessness peaked in 2003 and Labour were in charge for the decline he spoke of.

Full Fact said: "Sajid Javid claimed that homelessness is down by almost half since 2008. The evidence we've seen points to almost the exact opposite."

The fact-checking group added on its website that it is "not aware of any data" which supports Mr Javid's claim, adding: "Statuatory homelessness in England fell between 2003 and 2009. It has risen around 39 per cent since then."

In a statement to Full Fact, the Tories admitted that Mr Javid "misremembered the years, he meant the peak in 2003 under Labour".

Full Fact later said this statement was correct, but added: "It means Mr Javid was wrong in claiming credit for the Conservatives cutting the homelessness rate.

"The fall in the number of homeless households in England all happened before the Conservatives took office in 2010."

Figures from charity Shelter shows homelessness soared to 101,300 in 2004 before falling to 48,010 in 2010, before increasing steadily over the past nine years to more than 84,700.

A spokesman for Shelter told the Independent: “Any assertion that homelessness is going down is not true.

"A toxic combination of spiralling rents, a freeze on housing benefit and nowhere near enough social homes built by successive governments has led to a situation where more and more families find themselves homeless.

“Shelter’s own research this week revealed a staggering 135,000 children are homeless this Christmas which is a national scandal. The only solution to tackling homelessness and ending the housing emergency is homes people can afford.

"Whoever forms the next government must urgently get on with the job of building the social homes this country clearly needs.”

Shadow housing secretary John Healey also responded to Mr Javid's claims before they were later clarified, blasting them as "total rubbish".

He added: "There was an unprecedented fall in homelessness under Labour, but since 2010 rough sleeping has doubled and homeless deaths have risen too, as a direct result of decisions the Tories have taken."

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