Scandal of homeless deaths by austerity | Letters

Ian McCauley on the death of a friend let down by the system and Grahame Morris on Conservative culpability for austerity

Linda Smith and Roger Pepworth (Letters, 4 February) are absolutely correct in linking the tragic deaths of so many homeless people to austerity. The national debate on this issue has been further constrained by political expediency and a blinkered approach to the evidence provided by good practice in this area. Congratulations to Andy Burnham for his initiative and imagination in his approach to homelessness (Off the streets: How Manchester bucked trend on homeless figures, 1 February).

Just over a year ago you published my letter (11 December 2017) congratulating you on an article about Portugal’s approach to substance abuse and addiction. I referred to a young man who had been let down by an incoherent approach to his multiple addiction problems, mental health issues and homelessness. In particular I highlighted the inappropriate and inhumane response of the justice system to the minor offences connected with his addictions. I felt then that he was in mortal danger. He died a week ago.

He had enormous potential. He was much loved but also very ill. Although there were a number of professional individuals helping him, their efforts have been undermined by political cowardice and what Mr Pepworth calls the “wreckage” of the austerity programme. The prison sentences my friend served were inappropriate and futile. I applaud the Guardian for casting light on the scandal my friend’s death represents.
Ian McCauley
Reading

• John Lanchester (On climate change, we boomers really owe the young, 7 February) writes: “It’s not like all of this was a plan. The shift in demographics was foreseeable, but austerity, Brexit and our housing madness were all, essentially, historical accidents.” Really? Were they not all deliberate political choices made by successive generations of the Tory party?
Grahame Morris
Tideswell, Derbyshire

• Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

• Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters

• Do you have a photo you’d like to share with Guardian readers? Click here to upload it and we’ll publish the best submissions in the letters spread of our print edition

Letters

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Lambeth cutting family centre funds | Letters
Letters: All councils have to react to government cuts – the test is how, says David Hopkins. Plus Dr Harry Harmer considers austerity’s legacy

Letters

04, Feb, 2019 @6:29 PM

Article image
Of course homelessness is linked to Tory policies | Letters
Letters: Cuts have contributed significantly to a crisis of housing affordability and growing homelessness

Letters

19, Mar, 2018 @5:59 PM

Article image
The Guardian view on homeless people: let’s give them homes and support | Editorial
Editorial: The number of homeless people dying on our streets is soaring. The power to stop it is in our hands

Editorial

02, Oct, 2019 @5:27 PM

Article image
We’ve had so many reports on inequality – now act | Letters
Letters: Chris Grover says austerity policies are even more punishing than the workhouse, John Veit-Wilson on social security for everyone, Jack Czauderna on so many reports, Dr David Alderson on why he won’t vote for the Lib Dems, and Paul Nicolson et al on the inequality between renters and landlords or landowners

Letters

22, May, 2019 @4:51 PM

Article image
Two tales from the frontline of austerity | Letters
Letters: Universal credit’s effect on food bank use may be greater than statistics suggest, says Jane Middleton, while an anonymous reader eligible for £1.26 a month of the benefit wonders how many others are in her situation

Letters

30, Apr, 2019 @4:37 PM

Article image
Rage against the cruelty of so-called austerity | Letters
Readers on the visit to the UK by Philip Alston, UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, to examine rising levels of poverty and hardship across the UK after a decade of cuts to public services

Letters

15, Nov, 2018 @5:53 PM

Article image
Women, austerity and the spending review | Letters
Letters: Representatives from 34 women’s organisations call on the new prime minister to use the spending review to demonstrate that he is serious about ending austerity

Letters

28, Aug, 2019 @4:16 PM

Article image
Finally, a Tory MP is shocked by austerity | Letters
Letters: Readers respond to the news that Heidi Allen MP has embarked on an anti-austerity tour and discovered terrible poverty in the UK

Letters

27, Jan, 2019 @6:24 PM

Article image
Freezing Britain and the chill wind of austerity | Letters
Letters: Readers respond to the week’s bitterly cold weather and the effect it has had on the nation

Letters

02, Mar, 2018 @4:43 PM

Article image
Angered by the damage that austerity does to the poor | Letters
Letters: Readers respond after the UN poverty envoy said austerity has inflicted ‘great misery’ on UK citizens

Letters

19, Nov, 2018 @5:46 PM