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Fri Nov 15, 2019, 08:46 AM

Cost of housing homeless families rises to more than 1bn

Almost third of urgent housing budget is spent on emergency bed and breakfasts, data shows
A combination of soaring rents and more families without accommodation pushed spending on emergency housing to almost £1.1bn in England in the year to April 2019, analysis of figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government shows.

Almost a third of the budget (£344m) was spent on rooms in emergency bed and breakfasts, which are among the most expensive yet least comfortable forms of accommodation, particularly for families, according to housing experts.
Shelterís analysis shows that a 78% increase in spending on temporary accommodation in five years has far outstripped the 45% increase in the number of homeless households needing it. Similarly, the number of homeless families housed in B&Bs has increased by 61%, yet the amount spent on their rents has risen by 111%.

Last month, the Observer found that firms providing temporary accommodation in Englandís top 50 homeless blackspots received an average of £10,000 of public money for each booking.


A number of MPs, some of them prominent in government, are landlords:

According to Guardian research and the Register of Memberís Financial Interests, 196 MPs are currently declaring rental income. The majority of those are earning in excess of £10,000 a year from property, on top of the basic MPís salary of £67,060.

The Conservative party has the highest number of landlord MPs, with 128 of their MPs renting out property. This means that 39% of Tory MPs are landlords. This is compared with 26% of Scottish National Party MPs and 22% of Labour. To put this into context, itís estimated that just 2% of the general adult population of this country are renting out homes.

When you consider the figures is it any wonder that Generation Rent arenít being represented in Parliament? Is it any wonder that the majority of legislation favours landlords and that there is a reluctance on the part of this government to properly regulate lettings agents and ban letting fees altogether? All of the main political parties, with the exception of the Conservatives, pledged to ban letting fees before the General Election last year.


Buy to let has become a major form of income for some boomers, more likely to vote Conservative, and as the OP article points out, provision of temporary accommodaion is a significant and lucrative industry for some, so it's no surprise that despite lip service over the years, the Tories are reluctant to do anything that might ease market demand for accommodation, and even the meagre measures they have enacted have been met by squeals of protest from private renting groups.

It's not just the raw numbers of provision, but where housing needs are concentrated and the demographics worst affected. The situation will only get far worse without intervention, and Brexit is obviously not going to help:

According to the latest figures from the English Housing Survey tenants in England now spend half of their pay on rent, while London renters spend 72% of their earnings.

Because renting is the new normal for young people today we need better regulation of the market, better renterís rights and a fair deal for tenants. As things stand letting agentsí rule the market, and because of a lack of proper regulation and legislation can charge more or less whatever they like in terms of fees to tenants.


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