Do you remember the Tory housing revolution back in the 1980s? I do.
Margaret Thatcher told us she wanted the UK to be a “nation of home-owners”, and I’m sure she also told us it would be cheaper on the nation as councils would no longer have to build and maintain social housing.
Nearly 40 years on, what has happened?
The UK is a nation in thrall to private landlords whose prices are unaffordable to most people – especially after more than nine years of Tory wage depression and benefit cuts.
Result: Councils spent nearly £100 million providing bed-and-breakfast accommodation for homeless households (it is their statutory duty).
That money could have been spent on council services instead. Next time you get angry at your council for failing to provide, put the blame on Mrs Thatcher!
Provision of social housing has always been the cheapest option for dealing with poverty and homelessness.
It cuts crime – both by and against people who don’t have homes, meaning our police forces are less stretched.
It cuts strain on the health service – there is less violent crime against the homeless, and there is less likelihood of homeless people falling prey to disease.
And it provides income to local authorities that otherwise have to pay out increasing amounts to private landlords to put a metaphorical sticking-plaster over this wound on our society.
The Tory government response to this crisis (see below) is derisory; it wants councils to put themselves in debt in order to provide new housing, meaning they’ll be starved of even more cash.
There’s only one way to end the housing crisis – and that is regime change.
We need a radical change of government.
And we’ll get it soon, if enough people see past the anti-Corbyn propaganda and vote Labour.
Remember: Jeremy Corbyn is the only leader who said his ambition is “a home for everyone”.
Spending by councils on housing families in bed and breakfast accommodation has surged by 780 per cent in a decade, prompting renewed calls for urgent action to mitigate the housing crisis.
An analysis of official data by the Local Government Association (LGA) revealed cash-strapped local authorities had to spend £93.3m on B&Bs for homeless households last year, up from £10.6m in 2009-10.
Campaigners said families were “paying the ultimate price” for successive governments’ failure to build social homes, and urged ministers to adapt welfare reforms to protect families at risk of becoming homeless.
Councils only use bed and breakfasts as a last resort, but the continued loss of social housing was leaving many with no alternative in which to house homeless families, the LGA said.
There are currently 7,040 households in bed and breakfast accommodation – up from 2,450 a decade ago, an increase of 187 per cent.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “Everyone should have somewhere safe to live and to support those most in need we have removed the borrowing cap, freeing up councils to double housing delivery to around 10,000 new social homes a year by 2021/22.
“We’ve also targeted funding to reduce the number of households in temporary accommodation and in two years we’ve helped councils to reduce the number of families in B&Bs for more than six weeks by 28 per cent.”
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