Jan. 29 (UPI) — Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said Sunday that his party will address homelessness in Britain by purchasing more than 8,000 vacant properties.
Appearing on BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show, Corbyn said the homelessness situation in Britain was “disgraceful” and “wholly unnecessary.” As part of a solution, he said Labor would “Immediately purchase 8,000 properties across the country to give emergency housing to those people who are currently homeless and at the same time require local authorities to build far more.”
Corbyn then criticized the construction of luxury condos built for foreign investors that are often vacant for long periods of time.
“We would give local authorities the power to take over deliberately kept empty properties, because there is something grossly insulting about the idea you would build some luxury block and deliberately keep it empty,” he said.
A Labor Party spokesperson later told the BBC that the housing units would be purchased by “immediately striking a deal” rather than compulsory selling.
Corbyn’s comments come after another year in which homelessness has increased in Britain.
According to The Guardian, homelessness in Britain has increased six years in a row, bringing the total number of people sleeping on the streets to 4,751 last fall. That number has doubled since 2010.
Many more are in shelters, including approximately 120,000 children in hostels or other temporary lodging.
“Surely we have to have a social objective and a social priority in our society?” Corbyn said.