On 4th November, Suella Braveman made a number of comments on surrounding homeless people, including a controversial statement that homelessness is a ‘’lifestyle choice’’, sparking large-scale criticism.
“We cannot allow our streets to be taken over by rows of tents” [Suella Braverman]
Braverman stated that ‘’The British people are compassionate. We will always support those who are genuinely homeless.’’ before highlighting that ‘’we cannot allow our streets to be taken over by rows of tents occupied by people, many of them from abroad, living on streets as a lifestyle choice.’’
According to the former Home Secretary, there are several options for people who ‘’don’t want to be sleeping rough’’.
Impact reached out to University of Nottingham students to understand their views on Braverman’s comments.
“Weak welfare systems which set people with low incomes up to fail” [Kayla, UON student]
Kayla, a first year Philosophy and Theology student, stated that ‘’ Her opinion is incredibly disgusting.’’ and ‘’ The reason why so many people are living in poverty is because of a prejudice that is rampant among the ‘elite’ that manifests into weak welfare systems which set people with low incomes up to fail, and those in poverty to continuously be failed, by their government.’’
The right-wing politician proposed a measure to stop homeless people from being provided with tents, which would form part of the new Criminal Justice Bill included in the King’s Speech.
In response to this proposal, Shelter drafted an open letter to the then Home Secretary, urging the government to ‘’reconsider these measures, which will result in harm to thousands of people who have no option but to sleep in a tent, or on the .
“Hard to imagine that the issue of rough sleepers been given tents is the most pressing issue” [Nottingham University Conservative Association]
When asked about Suella Braverman’s proposal, a spokesperson for the Nottingham University Conservative Association responded that ‘’The job of Home Secretary is one that comes with many difficult tasks. It is hard to imagine that the issue of rough sleepers being given tents is the most pressing issue.’’
As stated in an article published by the , Sunak had initially declined to rule out the move, despite outrage among many members of the Conservative party, simply stating that the proposal was ‘’undergoing scrutiny’’, and highlighting ‘’the government’s track record over the past few years in tackling [sleeping rough].’’
“At the heart of all that is enacted and said by a government should be ideals of compassion and an attempt to help and understand the lives of others” [Nottingham Labour Students]
In response to the comments made by Braverman, the Nottingham Labour Students society have said: ‘’We vehemently disagree with the, now former, Home Secretary’s comments that homelessness is a lifestyle choice. At the heart of all that is enacted and said by a government should be ideals of compassion and an attempt to help and understand the lives of others. The rhetoric heard last week is, therefore, dangerous – and very clearly lacking in these values. We, at NLS, believe that all policy directed towards solving homelessness should be prevention-focused – ensuring that our social services are utilised to stop this national tragedy.’’
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