In the build up to the Autumn Statement, Councillor David Taylor told parliamentarians that government must increase the local housing allowance and urgently revisit the local government funding settlement, during a visit to Parliament on 11th September.
Speaking to an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Homelessness and Temporary Accommodation, Councillor Taylor highlighted the growing housing problem in Havering. Pointing out that the local housing allowance is below market rents, Taylor called for this to be urgently revised up to relieve pressures on Havering’s finances.
The APPG heard from GPs, researchers, and reporters on the housing crisis in the UK. Researchers modelled a number of policy changes that could have an impact, with a rise in the local housing allowance being the most effective.
A GP presented data that showed 34 children had died in temporary accommodation, since 2019, with no underlying health conditions.
Councillor Taylor said;
“It is urgent that the government and future governments tackle this issue. 1 out of every 23 children in London live in temporary accommodation. That’s at least one child in every school class.
The local housing allowance is about £200-£300 short of the rent prices in Havering. This leaves the council struggling to be able to place families in secure and suitable homes.
I told MPs and researchers that the allowance must be raised. I also informed them that Havering’s funding from Government needs to be revisited”.
The APPG also heard about the struggles faced by families moved outside of areas they know, with families struggling to locate a GP and not informed that by moving out of the area they are no longer able to bid on accommodation in their hometown.
Councillor Taylor has promised to use his position as Chairman of the Places Committee to look at how Havering supports such residents.
Councillor Taylor said;
“It’s a scandal that families can be moved hundreds of miles away with little to no support, it’s doubly scandalous that, by accepting the accommodation elsewhere, families are prevented from returning to their home town.
Support networks such as friends, churches, GPs and more are vital to these families.
Using my position as Chairman of Havering’s Places Committee, I’ll be looking at whether Havering is doing all it can to provide the care and support these residents deserve. “
Councillor Taylor concluded;
“Housing is not a party-political issue. We’ve seen generations of failures that have led to where we are now.
I will continue to lobby my party, and any future government, to ensure my residents and the people of Havering are heard”.
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