With the General Election less than a week away the parties are gearing up for the final run in, hammering home their key messages on the big national topics such as the NHS and Brexit.

But what about the issues that matter most to the people of Nottingham?

With homelessness in Nottingham above levels seen in London and other midlands cities such as Derby and Leicester, and the recent death of Valerij Tichormirov in the city centre last month, the issue of rough sleepers and homelessness will be at the forefront of many voters minds.

  • Nottingham has a rough sleeper rate of 2.6 rough sleepers per 1,000 households
  • Higher than the national average of 2 rough sleepers per 1,000 households
  • Last year, 4,800 households reached out to the council for help with housing

We looked at the parties and candidates standing in Nottingham to see how they’re planning to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping in Nottingham and the surrounding area.

Conservatives

Boris Johnson in Croydon. Photo: PA

Whilst the conservative manifestos makes no direct mention of tackling rough sleeping or homelessness in their election manifesto, significant focus is given to house building and home ownership, two key factors in the current crisis we face.

“If you’re a tenant, you will be protected from revenge evictions”

conservative manifesto 2019

This is as in depth as they get with regards to homelessness as vague policies touching on some of the root causes of homelessness are mentioned but little detail is given.

Labour

Labour leader Jermy Corbyn at the Robin Hood statue in Nottingham

The Labour party offer similar answers as the Conservatives with mentions of more affordable housing and stronger rights for renters. Labour then go into greater detail with a number of steps they say will help them end rough sleeping in five years.

“No one should sleep without a roof over their head in one of the richest countries in the world”

Labour manifesto 2019

A national levy on second homes will help fund plans to expand and upgrade hostels, make 8,00 additional homes available for rough sleepers as well as raising Local Housing Allowance. A commitment to repeal the Vagrancy Act will appeal to those concerned by the criminalisation of the homeless.

What is the Vagrancy Act?

  • Introduced in 1824 to help tackle the rise of homeless after the Napoleonic war
  • ┬áThe entire act was repealed in Scotland in 1982
  • Gained notoriety in 2014 after three men were arrested and charged under the act for taking food from a bin behind a supermarket

Liberal Democrats

Jo Swinson with Jon Sparkes, the chief executive of the charity Crisis. Credit: Mike Brooks

The Lib Dems have taken a very similar approach to Labour with regards to their commitment to end rough sleeping five years and also repeal the Vagrancy Act. But where they differ is the Liberal Democrats are focusing on changing existing policy to better protect sleepers and introducing new legislation such as the ‘somewhere safe to stay’ legal duty, to make sure those at risk of sleeping rough are provided with accommodation.

“rough sleeping has been increasing since the 2008 recession and is one of the most visible signs of increasing poverty and inequality”

Liberal Democrat manifesto 2019

Additional legislation will push for longer term tenancies to give renters more stability and a limit on annual rent increases. Increased funding for local councils to help them deliver the Homelessness Reduction Act is also mentioned in the manifesto.