Theresa May lied to parliament and the country at PMQs today

Fréa Lockley

At Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) on 13 December, Theresa May used inaccurate and “misleading” figures about homelessness. And because the government was ordered not to use these figures by the UK Statistics Authority, May knew that they were not accurate. In other words, she knowingly misled parliament; or lied.

And this came after Jeremy Corbyn asked May to pledge to end the homelessness crisis. Which she refused to do. Twice.

Misleading May…

As The Canary previously reported, there is a growing homelessness crisis in the UK. Corbyn used PMQs to raise this important topic. But May pinned blame for the crisis on the previous Labour government, saying [12:13:49] that:

Start your day with The Canary News Digest

Fresh and fearless; get excellent independent journalism from The Canary, delivered straight to your inbox every morning.

Statutory homelessness peaked under the Labour government and is down by over 50% since then. It’s this government that is delivering for people on housing.

But as The Mirror‘s Dan Bloom noted, this is “brazenly misleading”.

Continue reading below...

And in fact, as The Independent reported in February, the government was:

ordered to stop using potentially misleading statistics about homelessness in the UK.

Because the UK Statistics Authority “disputed figures” which claimed that there had been a drop in homelessness. As the report said:

This claim was found to gloss over the fact that this was only the case under a narrow definition of homelessness; to include only those who authorities are obliged to help. The number did not take into account homeless people who were given assistance under other schemes.

‘Neglect’

Corbyn linked [12:05:14] the “neglect of working class communities” following the Grenfell Tower tragedy to the UK’s homelessness crisis.

He went on to say [12:05:20] that:

since this government came to power, homelessness is up by 50%, rough sleeping has doubled. Homelessness and rough sleeping have risen every single year since 2010.

And he made a direct appeal [12:05:34] to May:

Will the Prime Minister pledge today that 2018 will be the year when homelessness starts to go down?

In her response, May refused to make this pledge. So Corbyn asked her again. And he also pointed out [12:07:17] that:

128,000 children will spend Christmas without a home to call their own, 60% up on 2010. It’s too late for this Christmas, but will the Prime Minister promise that, by Christmas 2018, fewer children will be without a home to call their own?

‘National disgrace’

Corbyn said [12:09:02] that it was a “national disgrace” that one child in a hundred was homeless at any one time. And he linked the rise in homelessness to the growth of insecure tenancies in the rental market.

It’s estimated that landlords in the UK earn £77.7bn each year from rent. And in 2016, it emerged that the number of renters made homeless had tripled since 2010.

Corbyn also pointed out [12:12:44] that:

40% of all [council] homes sold through Right to Buy are now in the private rented sector.

“Liar Liar”

As Corbyn tweeted:

It’s a tragedy that the number of homeless people is rising; and that so many children will be homeless this Christmas. But for May to refuse to accept responsibility for these rising figures under this Conservative government, and to knowingly lie to parliament, is despicable.

Get Involved!

– Support the work done by Crisis and Shelter to end homelessness.

Featured image via screenshot

Since you're here ...

We know you don't need a lecture. You wouldn't be here if you didn't care.
Now, more than ever, we need your help to challenge the rightwing press and hold power to account. Please help us survive and thrive.

The Canary Support

Comments are closed