The staggering scale of homelessness in modern day Tory Britain has been laid bare by a single heartbreaking photo that went viral over Christmas.

Dozens of homeless people can be seen huddled together for warmth, sleeping below an overhanging building in Manchester City Centre just before Christmas.

The heartbreaking photo, posted on Christmas Eve, has been retweeted over 5,000 times.

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A report by the National Audit Office last September revealed the true extent of the problem. Since Autumn 2010, there has been a 134% increase in the number of rough sleepers.

In addition, there has been a 60% increase since March 2011 in households living in temporary accommodation. These households included over 120,000 children.

And why this huge increase? The National Audit Office (NAO) has an answer:

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The ending of private sector tenancies has overtaken all other causes to become the biggest single driver of statutory homelessness in England.

And why are all those private sector tenancies ending? Again, let’s ask the NAO:

Changes to Local Housing Allowance are likely to have contributed to the affordability of tenancies for those on benefits, and are an element of the increase in homelessness.

The Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is the term for housing benefit for those who rent in the private sector. Almost the moment the Tories and Lib Dems entered government in 2010, they instituted a huge reduction in the amount people could claim in LHA. Housing charity Shelter calculated that this would mean 134,000 households having to move or find themselves homeless.

In April 2013 came the hated ‘bedroom tax’. This time, Shelter predicted that 660,000 households would have to move or find extra cash to cover their rent as a result.

And in April 2016, the Tories announced a four-year freeze on LHA. This, despite the fact that since 2010, private sector rent has increased three times faster than earnings

Altogether, it’s clear that the Tories have instigated an all-out attack on those who cannot afford to buy their own homes, leaving them to the mercy of grasping landlords. And people better not think they’re going to find any kind of social housing either: the number of houses built for social rent each year has dropped by 97% since the Tories came to power in 2010.

On a recent visit to Manchester, Theresa May was told about how homeless people were living in tunnels beneath the city streets. She pledged to spend £500m by 2020 on tackling rough sleeping. But when offered the chance to meet some of the rough sleepers, her reply was clear:

I don’t think I’ve got the opportunity today to do that.

Theresa May, just like the entire Tory Party, are good at talking the talk – but when it comes to actually solving the problems Britain faces, history has shown us time and time again that the Tories simply make things far, far worse for ordinary people.

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