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Santa on his bench: Banksy highlights homelessness with new artwork

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By Luke Hurst
Banksy's new work highlights the plight of the homeless in the UK
Banksy's new work highlights the plight of the homeless in the UK   -   Copyright  Banksy   -   Hurst, Luke

Anonymous 'guerrilla artist' Banksy has revealed a piece highlighting the plight of the homeless in the UK.

The graffiti artist often uses his platform to make political statements, and he created his new work in Birmingham on the weekend before Britons go to the polls in a general election.

Homelessness has been on the rise in England for nearly a decade, with rising rents, a welfare benefits freeze and a shortage of housing all contributing.

According to the Office for National Statistics 726 homeless people died in England and Wales last year.

The work was revealed in a video on Banksy's Instagram account, which you can watch below.

To the tune of "I'll be home for Christmas", a bearded man is shown sitting on a bench taking a sip of water, before lying down against his bag. The camera then pans out, revealing two reindeer spray-painted onto the wall next to the bench, creating a scene resembling Santa Claus in his sleigh.

The elusive artist said "God bless Birmingham" in the accompanying caption.

"In the 20 minutes we filmed Ryan on this bench passers-by gave him a hot drink, two chocolate bars and a lighter - without him ever asking for anything," he wrote.