140,000 children in England with no home

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he number of households in temporary accommodation in England is at its highest since records began. Charities now call on the “out of touch” government to ban no-fault evictions and accelerate social housebuilding.
Section 21 evictions – enabling landlords to evict renters at short notice without having to give a reason – are a leading cause of homelessness.
Michael Gove, the Levelling Up Secretary, has said the government would address the housing crisis by “allowing shops, takeaways and betting shops to be turned into living spaces, and changing planning laws to allow more home extensions”. These grand plans are typical of the sticking-plaster ideas of Rishi Sunak’s current government.
However, instability in the private rental market, exacerbated in the short term by rising interest rates and mortgage payment increases caused by Liz Truss’s policies, has led to steep rent rises and landlords deciding to sell their properties. The number of households being issued with no-fault evictions has increased by 21% in the past year.
The number of families living in hotels past the six-week legal limit has reached another all-time high, jumping from 670 to 1,840 in a year. This is not fine hotel life – families are in cramped conditions with no access to basic cooking or washing facilities.
But I want to focus on market towns and rural homelessness. The CPRE has found that the highest level of rural homelessness is in the south west region, where the number of people accepted as homeless by their local council has risen by 36% in five years.
These figures only capture those known to the local council and do not include the hidden homeless – in my own village I have seen people living in a minibus in one case and, in another, people living in a summer house in the garden.
The only way this crisis can be tackled is by building significant numbers of truly affordable homes for purchase and for social rent. This requires a major change of emphasis by Dorset Council – but this is never going to happen under this current government.
Poor housing conditions cause poor health, poor educational attainment and unemployment and can lead to an increase in crime. For too long this government has protected private landlords – why? Perhaps because so many Tory MPs are private landlords?
Gerald Davies
North Dorset Labour Party

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