Happy Christmas. I’d like to send greetings from myself and on behalf of the Labour Party.
It’s a time of year where many of us get time off, where we spend time with our family and our loved ones. But for others, it’s a time of increased loneliness and despair. On the streets of our cities and towns there has been a shocking rise in homelessness.
That’s why I visited Centrepoint, a charity that does vital work in London, Bradford and Sunderland, giving opportunities to homeless young people and helping them off the streets.
But the fact is in the sixth richest country in the world no-one should be on the streets in the first place. But Shelter say that 120,000 children will spend this Christmas without a home to call their own.
And it’s not just the most vulnerable who are struggling to get by. Mums and dads shouldn’t worry about how they’ll get through Christmas. It shouldn’t be a time when pensioners go lonely and, worse, without care. And no-one – absolutely no one – should be homeless this Christmas.
In the last six years, rough sleeping has doubled and increased by 30 percent in the last year alone.
That’s why Labour has pledged to put an end to homeless people having to sleep rough on the streets. We will effectively end rough sleeping within our first term in government. We’d help do that by doubling the number of homes ‘ring-fenced’ for people who have slept on the streets.
At this time of year people give up their time and donate, like the Centrepoint volunteers, despite the strain in their own lives.
It’s the goodwill and generosity of ordinary people, public service and charity workers who give tirelessly to help the most vulnerable and the lonely. They remind us of Christmas values: love for your neighbour, working together and hope, hope that things can be different. These are Labour values, my values and our values. They are values that remind us that together we can, and will change our country for the better.
Enjoy your time with loved ones and Happy Christmas.