In the card left on the spot near Parliament where a homeless man died yesterday, Jeremy Corbyn wrote: “As a country we must stop walking by.”
But it seems Theresa May and Sajid Javid – the two people ultimately responsible for tackling homelessness – are still prepared to look away while whistling a happy tune.
Neither the PM or the Secretary of State for Housing have said a word about the tragedy.
At time of writing, the last thing Theresa May had tweeted was a promotion for the Tories’ Help to Buy policy – which Shelter says has actually made the housing crisis worse by pushing up prices:
I've made it my personal mission to fix our broken housing market – figures today show the number of first-time buyers has reached an 11-year high. We must do more, but initiatives like Help to Buy and cutting stamp duty for many are truly helping more people own their own home. pic.twitter.com/6fL4lEJk7T
— Theresa May (@theresa_may) February 13, 2018
Sajid Javid tweeted about a jobs fair in his constituency and the 20th anniversary of the Angel of the North yesterday, but has said nothing about what action he’ll be taking to ensure people aren’t freezing to death on our streets.
Perhaps not surprising given one of his special advisors, Samuel Coates, once tweeted approvingly of an initiative to use homeless people as wifi hotspots.
The idea was slammed as “dehumanising” and “dystopian” at the time, but Coates thought it was:
— Samuel Coates (@samuelcoates) March 13, 2012
Housing Minister Dominic Raab, who famously said people don’t go to food banks because they’re in poverty, has also been silent on the issue.
To her credit, Heather Wheeler, one of Javid’s junior ministers with responsibility for housing and homeless has made an statement:
Dreadful news of a suspected rough sleeper dying in Westminster Tube. Stories like this push me on to find solutions and work to eradicate Rough Sleeping for good.
— Heather Wheeler MP (@HeatherWheeler) February 14, 2018
But more than 24 hours after the tragedy, it seems her bosses are still walking by…