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Ucatt: Put our members to work to stamp out homelessness

Construction workers union Ucatt urged today that its members be put to work building new social housing to help homeless families in England.

The body said it was “shocked” at the revelation that there are nearly 63,000 homeless families in England this Christmas.

General secretary Alan Ritchie said: “Thousands of skilled construction workers who specialise in house building have been laid off due to the credit crunch. Surely it would make sense to get these people back into work and building homes for rent. Not only would it help confidence return to the industry and protect the supply chain but it would also provide thousand of homes to families who are in desperate need.”

He said the number of homeless people was a “damning indictment” of 30 years of failed government policies on housing.

Ucatt said just 350 new houses were built by local councils in 2007 and the union predicted that the figure would be even lower this year.

The homeless figures were released this week following a Parliamentary question by Labour MP Harry Cohen.

Mr Cohen said: “There are simply not enough houses being built. There needs to be a huge expansion in council housing, otherwise we will have this chronic problem of homelessness Christmas after Christmas.”
A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “We are committed to helping more families into settled housing and nationally, the number of households in temporary accommodation has been cut by 13 per cent compared to this time last year.”

He said the Government was doing everything it could to increase the level of social and affordable housing, and that it would be investing more than £8 billion over the next three years in those areas.

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