The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is joining forces with the homelessness charity Crisis to ask the government for measures to support vulnerable tenants in the private rented sector (Benefit cuts ‘are forcing poor out of rental market’, 9 March). Rents are predicted to rise by more than 20% over the next five years and the access to rented properties for homeless people will fall as the government cuts support for housing costs. The budget included an announcement that a green paper will examine markets that are not working “efficiently or fairly”. But this will deal with important issues such as secondary ticketing for shows, in order to protect fans, and not the housing market, to protect tenants. One rule for the homeless; another for the show Hamilton.
• There was only one mention of housing in the chancellor’s financial statement. He claimed that “investing in education and skills … delivers greater fairness, is the key to … an economy that works for everyone … you will hear a recurring concern for the next generation. Will they have the qualifications to find a job? Will they be able to get on to the housing ladder, or save for a pension?” The question that concerns so many people is, he says, “Will our children enjoy the same opportunities as we did?”
He seems blissfully unaware that the recurring questions among most of the 30% of households renting their homes in the UK are: “Will our children have to suffer the same housing crisis? Will I be able to pay the ever-increasing rent and the council tax? Can I pay off these debts to buy food, fuel, clothes? Can I avoid eviction?” He ignores the massive costs to employers, taxpayers and the NHS of increasing inequality and deepening poverty. Investing in education will do nothing for the next generation of tenants, who might or might not aspire to get on the housing ladder, until the chancellor deals with the UK housing crisis.
Rev Paul Nicolson
Taxpayers Against Poverty
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