Indie: B&B ^14%, street homeless ^13% - sudden ^ in UK homelessness
tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Sat Dec 14 22:42:28 GMT 2013
B&B up 14%, street homeless up 13% Sudden rise in
homelessness blamed on housing shortage &
<https://twitter.com/search?q=%23Tory&src=hash>Tory 'bedroom tax'
Sudden rise in homelessness blamed on housing shortage and the 'bedroom tax'
Homeless charities raise the alarm after rough
sleepers rise by 13 per cent in London this year,
and six per cent across the country
GRICE POLITICAL EDITOR - Friday 13 December 2013
The number of homeless people is rising sharply
under the twin pressures of the shortage of
housing and the impact of the Government's
welfare reforms, according to a new study.
An annual state of the nation report by the
charities Crisis and Joseph Rowntree Foundation
(JRF) revealed that the number sleeping rough has
risen by six per cent in England this year, and
by 13 per cent in London. There has been a 10 per
cent increase in those housed temporarily,
including a 14 per cent rise in the use of bed and breakfast accommodation.
The report explicitly blames the Governments
welfare cuts for compounding the problems caused
by the high cost and shortage of housing as
demand outstrips supply. It found that the cap on
housing benefit made it more difficult to rent
from a private landlord, especially in London,
and claimed the controversial bedroom tax has
caused a sharp rise in arrears for people in
public housing, particularly in the Midlands and North.
Last night ministers emphatically denied that
their reforms had contributed to the return of
homelessness. But it has now risen in each of the
three years since the Coalition was formed
after falling sharply in the previous six years.
The Governments own latest statistics show that
57,530 households were in temporary accommodation
on September 30, an eight per cent rise on a year
earlier. Some 2,100 families with children were
in emergency B&B accommodation, the highest figure for a decade.
The spectre of homelessness is returning as
housing and welfare rise up the political agenda.
Labour has pledged to abolish the bedroom tax
and Liberal Democrat MPs are increasingly anxious
about its impact. There is concern that the
Governments Help to Buy scheme will inflate
another housing bubble. To help supply match
demand, Labour will promise at the 2015 election
to double house-building to at least 200,000 a year by 2020.
The new study found that nine per cent of adults
in England has been homeless at some point in their life.
Leslie Morphy, the chief executive of Crisis,
said: We keep hearing that the economy is on the
mend. Yet as we watch our GDP figures slowly
rise, cuts to housing benefit and woefully
inadequate house building will keep pushing up
homelessness. Shamefully, it is the poorest and
most vulnerable that are bearing the brunt.
We need the Government to address the chronic
lack of affordable housing, take real steps to
improve the private rented sector and to urgently
consider the impact its cuts to housing benefit
are having, particularly in the capital.
Julia Unwin, chief Executive of JRF, said:
Homelessness is the tragic consequence of
failures in our housing system and carries
enormous cost for both the people facing
destitution and society as a whole. To avoid
these figures going in the wrong direction, we
need to address the underlying causes of
homelessness urgently. That means building the
affordable homes this country desperately needs
and providing a proper safety net for when people
are unfortunate enough to fall on hard times.
A separate survey by Inside Housing magazine
showed that councils and housing associations are
increasingly resorting to the threat of
eviction. Some 113 social landlords issued a
total of 99,904 notices seeking possession for
rent arrears between April and November, a 26 per
cent rise on the same period last year. Sam
Lister, policy and practice officer at the
Chartered Institute of Housing, said the tougher
approach was sadly not surprising because
welfare reform is causing real difficulty.
The Department for Work and Pensions said: "Our
reforms are fixing the benefits system. There is
no evidence that people will be made homeless as
a result of the benefit cap, the removal of the
spare room subsidy or any of our welfare reforms.
We have ensured councils have £190m of extra
funds this year to help claimants and we are
monitoring how councils are spending this money closely."
Kris Hopkins, the Housing Minister, said: "I am
determined to ensure that we dont return to a
time when homelessness was more than double what
it is today. This Government has maintained
strong measures to protect families against the
threat of homelessness and acted decisively to
introduce a more accurate assessment of
previously-hidden rough sleeping. We have
supported the national roll out of No Second
Night Out to prevent persistent rough sleeping,
and given councils greater freedoms to house people in private rented homes.
"On top this we have provided nearly £1bn for
councils to reduce homelessness and support those
affected, while delivering 170,000 more
affordable homes since 2010. All this has meant
statutory homelessness remains at a lower level
than it was in 27 of the last 30 years.
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