Communities and Local Government (DCLG) Secretary Sajid Javid has been caught out claiming credit for Labour‘s performance on homelessness in a tweeted attempt to put down a critic.
Javid had tweeted a piece of misleading Conservative propaganda aimed at smearing the Labour Party in Parliament:
‘Same old Labour’?
Of course, Labour voted against the measure – proposed as part of Philip Hammond’s damp-squib Budget – because the government’s own Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) judged that it would make housing less affordable, pushing prices up to the benefit of existing owners instead of saving money for new buyers.
So the attempt to cast a negative light on Labour’s decision was deeply disingenuous.
Same old Tories.
A Twitter user took Javid to task for his propaganda – prompting Javid to make a further claim to try to justify himself:
Javid’s claim is technically correct. Homelessness is currently around 50% lower than it was in 2003.
But how much of that were the Tories responsible for?
This chart put out by Full Fact shows the change in homelessness to the most recent full financial year, 2016/17 – with a blue line added by the SKWAWKBOX to show when the Tories entered Downing Street:
The answer is very clear: all of the reduction in homelessness was achieved by Labour.
But that’s not all.
Not only have the Tories not contributed a single percentage point to the reduction – they have undone a huge part of Labour’s achievement.
Labour reduced homelessness from almost 140,000 households to 40,000 – a reduction of around 70%. So the Tories have added 20 points back onto the homeless total.
Yet Javid’s ‘a lot more to do’ claims credit for the Tories for Labour’s success, when in fact based on current projections the reduction will be less than 50% when the current financial year ends – because the Tories are increasing it.
This kind of misrepresentation is very typical of the dishonest way in which the Tories respond to criticism of the impact of their policies – choose a high starting point for something and then claim it is lower now. Once you see the facts, it’s transparent – but most people don’t know the facts unless someone tells them.
The SKWAWKBOX contacted the DCLG to ask why the Secretary of State was disingenuously claiming credit for a Labour achievement as part of an attempt to attack the party.
We have not yet received a response.
DCLG has now responded to our enquiry with the following comment:
A DCLG spokesman said:
“Statutory homelessness peaked in 2003/4 at over 135,000 and the number of households in temporary accommodation also peaked in 2004 at over 101,000 – both current levels are well below these figures.
“But we’re clear that there’s more to do. Tackling homelessness is a complex issue with no single solution – that’s why we’re providing over £1 billion up to 2020 for various measures to prevent and reduce all forms of homelessness and rough sleeping. We’re also bringing in the Homelessness Reduction Act – the most ambitious legislation in decades, which will mean the most vulnerable people in society get the support they need earlier.”
This comment appears to repeat Mr Javid’s use of a historically-high benchmark and the use of ‘current levels are well below these figures’ repeats his omission of the fact that homelessness has risen significantly from the level the Tories inherited from Labour.
The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.
If you wish to reblog this post, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.