Birmingham City Council are facing a funding black hole of £150 million next year. By 2020 the council will have made £800m worth of cuts since the era of austerity began in 2010, and expects to have lost 50% of its grant from central government.
This means that the already reduced Supporting People Fund is being considered for cuts. If this fund is further slashed, providers have said that schemes providing secure accommodation will close, leaving people on the street. 6% of all homeless people in the UK live in Birmingham.
Charities said the risks of more people dying were “massively increased” because of the cuts. Alan Fraser, chief executive of YMCA Birmingham, said, “If we have further cuts on top of what we have already had, that massively increases the risks of these kind of deaths happening.”
Birmingham City Council’s chief executive, Mark Rogers, also acknowledges that one of the clearest consequences of the reduction in local authority budgets over the past six years is the rise in homelessness. “A very simple indicator of withdrawal of grant funding is the rise in homelessness. Rough sleeping has increased considerably in the city,” he said, painting a bleak picture of “years of cuts having catastrophic consequences”.
Jack Dromey, Member of Parliament for Birmingham Erdington, said:
“People in Birmingham were shocked by the tragic death of a homeless man on the coldest night of the year.
“The Tories have to recognise the sickening truth that more homeless Brummies could die if they push ahead with huge local government cuts.
“Under Labour, the number of rough sleepers fell by three-quarters between 1998 and 2010 to its lowest level ever:
“Sajid Javid is right that one person homeless is one person too many. He needs to back our plans and stop slashing the funds that are keeping people off the streets.”