The royals live lifes of luxury while inconvenient homeless people are victimised for their benefit, photo Garry Knight (CC)

The royals live lifes of luxury while inconvenient homeless people are victimised for their benefit, photo Garry Knight (CC)   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Alex Wedlake, Cardiff West Socialist Party

Quick, look rich – the royals are coming! Yet again the homeless of Windsor were moved on in preparation for another royal wedding on 12 October.

The council insists that the intention was to keep the homeless safe due to the expected increase in footfall with over 3,000 gathering outside the gates. With a security bill of over £2 million, and a further £250,000 for the clean-up, surely this money could have gone to better use protecting those most vulnerable in society.

Take, for example, my home town of Cardiff. Official figures in Cardiff put rough sleepers at a little over 100, a figure that has risen steadily each year by 7% as austerity grips the nation. But the figure for applications for help with homelessness to Cardiff council was 3,987 in 2017-18.

With funding for homeless provision in Cardiff slashed by at least 70% since 2011, it is no wonder that the city is struggling to find provision for those at the sharp end of austerity measures.

At least 450 homeless people in the UK have died this year, exposing the “national emergency” of homelessness across the UK. One high-profile death in Cardiff last year was contributed to by the police operation ‘Purple Ash’ that sought to crack down on begging and the homeless.

This meant that homeless people were moved away from city centres towards less visible areas of the city, giving them less access to food and help.

Yet councils across the country do little to address this emergency, refusing to even implement legal no-cuts budgets that would protect the most vulnerable.

It is absolutely scandalous that Cardiff City Council not only refuses to utilise reserves to address the city’s homelessness issue but partners with the city’s police and crime commissioner to persecute those on the streets in the ‘Purple Ash’ operation.

Join the Socialist Party in Cardiff on Thursday 25 October at 7.45pm at St German’s Church in Adamsdown to build a campaign demanding:

  • An immediate measure to put a roof over every head
  • Rent controls to cap rents at genuinely affordable levels
  • Banning of letting agency fees
  • Use of reserves and prudential borrowing powers to embark on a mass council house-building scheme
  • Funding and support for social services to assist homeless people into housing and employment