By Isabel Ringrose
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2786

Tories clear the way for mass evictions

Social renters now spend 19 percent of their income on housing costs
Issue 2786
25 people with raised fists and banners against evictions

Fighting evictions in Custom House, London, in November 2021 (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Up to 200,000 children in England could face eviction this winter. Rising living costs and removal of coronavirus support measures are leaving many private renters at risk of homelessness.

Housing charity Shelter found that more than 100,000 families in England were handed eviction notices or fallen behind on their rent in recent months.

A ban on evictions brought in at the start of the pandemic ended in May last year. Shelter says that 55,000 children were evicted in the three months prior to December last year.

Single mothers are also disproportionately affected by homelessness with one in three single mothers in rent arrears or struggling to keep their homes.

The number of women in temporary accommodation increased by 88 percent in the last decade. Around 75,410 women are in temporary accommodation, compared to 40,030 in 2011.

Women are 36 percent more likely than men to be in arrears or struggling to afford costs.

Women are more likely to be in low paid, less secure work as well as having the burden of childcare. Single mothers also fear asking for help in case their children are taken away, and benefits no longer cover rents.

And 69 percent of women who rent privately worry they won’t be able to afford decent accommodation if their relationship breaks down.

In December Tory chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £1 billion package to support businesses through the latest wave of the pandemic. The department for housing announced £316 million to tackle homelessness.

But these new measures are nowhere near enough.

For those in social rented accommodation the situation is also set to deteriorate in the new year, according to the Resolution Foundation.

It estimates that almost 5 million families living in social housing in England will face rent increases of 4.1 percent—or £202 on average a year—as of April 2022. This is due to a rise in the cap on social rents.

A rise on that scale would be the largest in a decade and will coincide with a spike in living costs. Social renters now spend 19 percent of their income on housing costs after housing benefits.

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