We are doing all we can to tackle homelessness across Britain
Despite facing unprecedented challenges, such as a global pandemic, and Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine fuelling inflation and energy costs across Europe, our economy has turned a corner thanks to action taken by this government – meaning we can take action once again.
Inflation has halved; the economy has recovered more quickly from the pandemic than first thought; and debt is on track to fall.
But we know the cost of living, particularly over winter and the Christmas period, is still a great challenge for many families across the country and we continue to take steps to further help them. That’s why, in the Autumn Statement, we took a huge step forward in being able to unfreeze the local housing allowance. This positive move will benefit 1.6 million low-income households by on average £800 a year in 2024/25.
Homelessness charities Shelter, Crisis and others said raising local housing allowance was the biggest thing this government could do to tackle homelessness – and that’s what we’ve done. It’s a huge investment worth more than £7bn which will help people pay their rent, meet their housing costs, reduce the risk of homelessness, and help people to focus on working and progressing forward.
The increase in the allowance is just one vital part of the £104bn cost of living package this government is delivering over the next few years – worth an average £3,700 per household – and includes uprating benefits by 6.7 per cent. It means the most vulnerable will continue to be supported while we help people who are able to get into work to start reaping the rewards.
Last year, the Prime Minister also promised £2bn of investment to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping over a three-year period, including hundreds of millions of pounds of support to help local councils protect the most vulnerable people in their care. 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.
However, as Department for Work and Pensions minister focused on social mobility, I’ve been clear that tackling and preventing homelessness needs more than just government money. It requires the attention of businesses and government working together, which is why I was delighted to launch the homelessness employer covenant with Crisis and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities just a few months ago.
The homelessness employer covenant is the first of its kind in the United Kingdom and will put tackling and preventing homelessness into the employment strategies of organisations – big and small. The covenant, alongside the increase in the local housing allowance and the £1bn homelessness prevention fund, is government and business interacting at its best, and I do urge employers to sign up to the covenant and play their part in this mission.
By pairing support from government and help from businesses, we have created a strong, robust strategy to end homelessness and rough sleeping across this great country.
We are focused on the long-term decisions that will further strengthen our economy and give people the opportunity to build a wealthier, more secure life for themselves and their family.
We have put forward a real plan for growth, with meaningful tax cuts for hardworking people, a historic package of help for those looking to work, alongside hugely expanded support for the most vulnerable.
Whether it’s helping people back into work, while protecting the most vulnerable, boosting the local housing allowance, or working to prevent homelessness, this government will continue to do what it can to deliver meaningful and long-lasting change for the country and in every community.
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