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Labour Warns "Toxic" Cost Of Living Is Driving Homelessness At Christmas

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner visited a Crisis centre in Tuesday in central London. (Crisis)

3 min read

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner has said a "toxic mix" of rising rents, no-fault evictions, and the cost of living crisis is a major driving factor of homelessness this Christmas.

New research by Labour suggest 5,758 households could be threatened with homelessness in the final quarter of 2023, with 2,447 households potentially facing evictions.

Rayner, who is also shadow housing minister, and shadow homelessness minister Mike Amesbury visited a Crisis centre in central London on Tuesday where they met with Crisis members and people at risk of homelessness.

“Speaking to Crisis’ members at their London Skylight centre... it's clear that a toxic mix of rising rents, the cost-of-living crisis and a failure to end no-fault evictions is hitting the most vulnerable this Christmas," Rayner told PoliticsHome

“On the Tories’ watch, a homelessness crisis has erupted. People are dying on the streets, record children are living in temporary accommodation and private renters have no legal protection against their landlord making them homeless on whim.   

“Having waited years for ministers to deliver on their promise to end no fault evictions, tens of thousands more families now face the risk of homelessness because of this further delay."

The party has been critical of the government's decision not to move forward with a promise to end Section 21 evictions until "reforms to the justice system are in place", warning the process will take too long to get in place, leaving people to be evicted in the meantime. 

Rayner said her party would "get the job done" on tackling the issue of homelessness, claiming it had "the vision and the will" to tackle the problem.

Angela Rayner, Mike Amesbury

Earlier this month, Amesbury told PoliticsHome the government lacked the "political will" to tackle the growing issue of homelessness after several homeless people died when temperatures plummeted in early December.

He said the government's 'Everyone In' scheme, which housed homeless people in hotels during the pandemic to prevent the spread of Covid, was an example of the government tackling the issue "when there's a political will to ensure everyone has a roof over their heads".

Deaths among homeless people are a growing issue in the UK; earlier this year the charity Museum of Homelessness revealed data showing 1,313 homeless people died in 2022, a 85 per cent increase compared to figures three years prior. 

According to Shelter, between January and March 2023, 79,840 households faced homelessness in England – the highest figure on record. 

Rayner and Amesbury's visit to the Crisis centre came on the same day as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was asked about the issue of economic inequality – including homelessness – at the cross-party liaison committee on Tuesday, and whether it keeps him "awake at night". 

"No, I want to make sure that we can reduce economic inequality and spread opportunity and I am pleased that we are making progress on that," Sunak replied. 

Mims Davies, a minister at the department for work and pensions, earlier this month also praised the government's record on tackling the issue of homelessness – arguing the government's decision to unfreeze local housing allowance at the autumn statement was "the biggest thing this government could do to tackle homelessness".

"Last year, the Prime Minister also promised £2 billion of investment to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping over a three-year period, including hundreds of millions pounds of support to help local councils protect the most vulnerable people in their care," Davies added.  

"This enormous package of support is clear evidence of this government’s commitment to making sure no one has to live with the precarity of being homeless."

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