Homeless Link has responded to the chancellor’s spring statement, warning that the announcements won’t prevent a rise in homelessness.
In his spring statement earlier this week, Sunak recognised the need to provide financially vulnerable households with more support.
However, Homeless Link – the national membership charity for frontline homelessness organisations – said the measures announced fail to go “anywhere near far enough”.
Responding to the statement, Homeless Link CEO Rick Henderson said: “Rishi Sunak admitted that vulnerable households need targeted support to get through the coming few months of an unprecedented cost of living crisis.
“But unfortunately, by focusing on tax cuts for those in work, the measures announced don’t go anywhere near far enough to provide the stability the most vulnerable households need to avoid being pushed into homelessness.
“While Sunak announced a range of policies to help people in work in the short-term, he has not listened to calls from across the political spectrum to invest in our struggling welfare system, and has almost entirely excluded those not in full-time work from consideration.”
He continued: “Rather than relying on temporary fixes like the Household Support Fund, the government should seek to make our welfare system fit for purpose by unfreezing LHA rates and restoring the Universal Credit £20 uplift to help those on low-incomes stay afloat and lead dignified lives.
“The £40m cut to the Discretionary Housing Payment announced last week will not make this any easier.
“When the cost of living increases, homelessness does too. Those not in work will have to navigate the coming months with the support of a welfare system still reeling from recent cuts and continued shortages of homes for social rent.
“This could lead to a wave of homelessness and brings the government’s target of ending rough sleeping by 2024 into serious question.”
Key takeaways from the chancellor’s spring statement include scrapping the 5% VAT rate on homeowners looking to make energy-efficiency improvements to their home, raising the National Insurance threshold by £3,000 to £12,570, and doubling the Household Support Fund to £1bn.
There has been widespread criticism that the support announced by the chancellor is dwarfed by wider tax increases and the rapidly surging cost of living.
Homeless Link is the national membership charity for frontline homelessness services, representing over 900 organisations across England.
Image: Ilyas Tayfun Salci/Shutterstock
Are you a social housing professional? Sign up for a FREE MEMBERSHIP to upload news stories, post job vacancies, and connect with colleagues on our secure social feed.