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Criminalising the Vulnerable

Criminalising the Vulnerable

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Published by squashcampaign
SQUASH parliamentary briefing, May 2011.
SQUASH parliamentary briefing, May 2011.

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categoriesTypes, Research, Law
Published by: squashcampaign on May 18, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Criminalising the vulnerable
 Why we can’t criminalise our way out of a housing crisis
Squatters’ Action For Secure Homes
    P    h   o   t   o   g   r   a   p    h  :    T   o   m    H   u   n   t   e   r    W   o   m   a   n    R   e   a    d    i   n   g   a    P   o   s   s   e   s   s    i   o   n    O   r    d   e   r    1    9    9    7
 A parliamentary briefng
18 May 2011
Te Ministry o Justice has announced it intends to launch a consultation on proposals to ‘criminalise squatting’(England and Wales) in May 2011. Squatting has a long history in the UK, and is a common response to housing needs, especially in a time o housing crisis.Tis brieng presents a preliminary analysis o the implications that the criminalisation o squatting may have. We argue that at a time o government cuts to rontline public services (including housing), cuts to housing benet,rising house prices, and a corresponding rise in homelessness, the proposed criminalisation will:SQUASH (Squatters Action or Secure Homes) is a volunteer-run campaign looking to raise awareness on theimpacts o the proposed criminalisation. We are keen to work with others to provide resources towards the achieve-ment o secure housing or all.
1A brieng on the criminalisation o squattin 
- impact adversely upon some o the most vulnerable people in society- empower unscrupulous landlords and property speculators- burden the justice system, police orce, and the public pursehttp://www.squashcampaign.org General enquiries:ino@squashcampaign.org .Press enquiries: press@squashcampaign.org el No. 07415 516 105
Squatters’ Action For Secure Homes
Housing costs exploding 
As more and more households join the queue or ahome o their own, the numbers o people on local au-thority housing waiting lists have nearly doubled since1997 to around 5 million. Te lack o social housing means that increasing numbers o would-be owners areremaining in the private rental sector, causing demandto outstrip supply in many parts o the country, notleast London where over the past year rents havesoared by 7.3 per cent and will soon hit £1,000 permonth on average. Around 10 per cent o all rent isunpaid or late. Companies specialising in helping landlords to evict tenants say that evictions relating torent arrears rose by 12 per cent in 2010 compared to2009. Rising ood and energy bills, alling incomes,increased economic insecurity and the associatedreduced access to credit mean or growing numbers o  people a weekly battle to keep a roo over their heads.
Repossessions and arrears
Large numbers o households can simply no longeraord their mortgage, arrears are rising and high levelso repossessions look here to stay or many years tocome.
Crisis o house building 
House building was already deemed by governmentto be ‘too low’ prior to the nancial crisis, but since2006-7, house building completions in England haveslumped dramatically to their lowest levels or nearly90 years.
First-time buyers locked out
Despite a 25 per cent average all in house prices since2008, unaordability remains endemic because mostrst-time buyers cannot raise the £25,000 deposittypically needed to get a mortgage at aordable ratesin the new era o risk-ree lending.
Cuts to Housing Benet will increase Homelessnessand Rough Sleeping 
More than 42,000 households are ocially homelessand 50,000 are living in ‘temporary’ accommodationand in priority need in England alone. But the ‘hiddenhomeless’ gures could be closer to hal a million be-cause, according to Crisis, “the vast majority o home-less people exist out o sight in hostels and reuges, bedand breakasts, squats, unsatisactory or overcrowdedaccommodation and on the oors or soas o riendsand amilies”.Te Coalition government’s controversial cuts toHousing Benet threaten to make this situation alot worse. An estimated 88,000 households will bebadly aected by cuts to Housing Benet and parts o London and the South East will simply become una-ordable or low-income households. Mass displace-ment is likely. Te cuts pose particular concerns or young single people renting in the private sector asadults between 25 and 34 will no longer be eligible orthe 1-bed allowance and will instead only be allowedto claim the Shared Accommodation Rate. Housing  proessionals in local authorities and the voluntarysector are warning that these changes will increasehomelessness.
1. Te Housing Crisis We’re in
2A brieng on the criminalisation o squattin 
“Where these cuts take place they will pull away the saety net om some o the most vulnerable amilies and individuals in our society and will inevitably lead to an increase in homelessness.” 
Campbell Robb, Chie Executive, Shelter
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