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Who will clap for the homeless and lost generation of young people?

AS the clap for the NHS now renamed ‘Clap for Heroes’ is set to return those who work with some of the most vulnerable in society are calling for more to be done for the homeless and young people, describing the young as a lost generation with mass unemployment on the horizon.

With regards to the homeless charities and campaigners are warning of the imminent disaster for thousands of homeless people in the U.K. who might lose their lives unless major changes are made and the ‘Everyone In’ scheme is brought back.

The call for the return of the scheme has been echoed by Shadow Housing Secretary Thangam Debbonaire who says that rough sleepers are some of the most exposed in our society.

The call for action comes in the wake of recent findings that there were record numbers of people who died without a secure home in 2019.

Big Issue vendor Howard

In Oldham Big Issue vendors have been taken off the streets leaving them without an income. Big Issue North reported that vendors face a dire predicament: they are once again not permitted to sell the magazine.

The rule for financial aid means that the vendors who are self employed are not eligible for furlough. It is the same across the U.K. as thousands of homeless and vulnerably housed people now find themselves without a source of desperately needed income.

Oldham’s Local Authority is responding by moving the homeless up the pecking order to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. It will be the first authority to defy the government and give the homeless priority for the Covid-19 vaccine. There are now calls for other local authorities to follow Oldham’s lead. Homeless charities are also calling for a rethink on where the homeless sit on the priority list.

The picture is also bleak for the UK’s young people. Up to one million young people could be left locked out of education, employment and training. A lost generation of young people could face a future of unemployment and lost opportunities, with the effects on mental health immeasurable at present. The knock on effect of the pandemic could see 290,000 young people becoming long-term unemployed in the next 12 months according to the Learning and Work Institute.

Senior political figures including Lord Bird MBE and Labour MP Caroline Lucas along with the Big Issue are calling for more long-term thinking and planning in Government and calling for the Wellbeing and Future Generations Bill to be passed into law. The Bill’s second reading, which is the first opportunity for MP’s to debate the main principles of the Bill, is scheduled in the House of Commons for Friday 22nd January.

The Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill will require the UK Government to:
1. Work to prevent problems, including the climate crisis, poverty and pandemics from happening, and not just deal in emergencies;
2. Give current and future generations a voice in decision-making, and protect them from global threats;
3. Deliver a new, sustainable vision for the nation that prioritises our environmental, social, economic and cultural wellbeing.

Some on social media are questioning the return of the clapping for the NHS claiming that the way to help the NHS is to obey the rules and stay indoors. Some claim it is a smokescreen to obscure the fact that NHS staff will be denied a pay-rise in the coming years. Others claim that those who were enthusiastically clapping were doing so to make themselves feel better and look good in the eyes of their neighbours and when it comes to supporting NHS staff in a meaningful sense they are nowhere to be seen.

Clap for heroes will start at 8pm this evening.

Big Issue Wales were contacted for comment.

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