Housing Crisis Deepens

By Mick Scrimshaw on March 7, 2017

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See below for the latest public statement from the Local Government Association about Britain’s deepening housing crises, where they report on public sector employees being evicted from their homes because they can’t afford the rent despite working full time. Luckily rents aren’t as high in Kettering but the wider points about the lack of Social Housing and council’s having to find emergency accommodation when the market can’t provide are still valid locally.

Families who rely on State help to pay their rent will have to find hundreds of pounds extra every month to avoid eviction because of the Government’s freeze on housing benefit, it is claimed. Demands from Shelter and other housing organisations for a government rethink come as a number of councils, mostly in the south of England, report that many of those being evicted and rendered homeless are now in full-time work (typically in public sector jobs such as teaching or nursing).

Ahead of this week’s Budget, charities are calling on ministers to end the freeze, which is set to run until 2020, and to build more affordable homes in areas of need, or to risk a further “explosion” in the already rapidly rising numbers being placed in costly emergency accommodation by councils.

The alarm has also been sounded by the Local Government Association in its official submission to Government ahead of the Budget. It points out that the failure to build sufficient affordable homes over the last few decades has driven ever more people into expensive rented accommodation, which has to be topped up with housing benefit.

When renters find they can no longer meet the costs, the local authorities are statutorily obliged to find them emergency accommodation. The LGA submission says: “It is local government that is picking up the pieces from the long-term failure to build homes that are affordable for families...placing more families in expensive temporary accommodation [and] costing councils £3.5 billion in the last five years, rising 43 per cent in that time.”

Mick Scrimshaw is the Leader of the Labour Group at Kettering Borough Council, the Shadow Cabinet Member for Finance at Northamptonshire County Council. He has a public record of standing up for Kettering as a County Councillor for the Northall division in Kettering, Northants and since May 2015, a Borough Councillor for the William Knibb ward. He is a keen cyclist and also runs a family business with his wife.

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