GCN barristers co-sign housing crisis open letter

11 January 2023

There is no longer any time to delay changes, or defer responsibility. We are at crisis point.
This was the message in an Housing crisis from housing organisations and lawyers about the UK’s housing market.
 
GCN Barristers co-signed the letter which outlines the causes of the current housing crisis and the steps needed to ease the problem.
 
According to the June to September 2022 mortgage and landlord possession statistics:
  • Landlord possession claims (the legal process to evict a tenant) have more than doubled in the past year.
  • Possession orders (the court granting the right to evict) have nearly tripled.
  • Average rents in the North West up by nearly 10% in the same period.
  • Rents in Manchester up by a staggering 20.5%.
  • Greater Manchester boroughs have some of the highest numbers of people assessed as homeless in the UK.
This is at the same time that costs are rising for basic necessities, including food and energy.
Rents are increasing, but for those on benefits, the Local Housing Allowance has remained frozen since April
2020, meaning even fewer people can afford their rent.
 
The letter includes the following recommendations for policy makers:
  1. Restore the Local Housing Allowance rates to account for rent increases;
  2. Take urgent action invest in social housing across the North West;
  3. Bring forward the Renter’s Reform Bill to protect tenants from Section 21 evictions;
  4. Provide emergency funding to Local Authority homelessness services;
  5. Introduce rent controls and an evictions ban, following in Scotland’s footsteps;
  6. Provide emergency funding to the legal aid system and advice services;
  7. Review legal aid scope and eligibility to allow more issues and households access to justice.

Rosalind Burgin form our housing and homelessness team signed the letter. Rosalind said:

‘Greater Manchester has a strong community of people and organisations working together on issues of housing and homelessness, led by homeless people and tenants as well as people on the front lines alongside them. I’m proud to sign this letter which doesn’t just set out the details of the crisis we’re facing, but also sets out what change needs to happen and who can make it.

‘The letter says “There is no longer any time to delay changes, or defer responsibility. We are at crisis point.” There is only so much that tireless campaigners and caseworks can do on a day-to-day basis when the problems we face are systemic, structural and enshrined in law. I support the seven recommendations to policy makers in this letter.’

Read the letter here.

Read Manchester World’s coverage here.

Signatories

GCN barristers: Aarif Abraham, Ciara Bartlam, Rosalind Burgin, Peter Cruickshank, Christian Weaver.

Shelter
Greater Manchester Law Centre
Citizens Advice Bury & Bolton
Citizens Advice Manchester
Citizens Advice Salford
Citizens Advice SORT Group
Alison Law Solicitors
The Booth Centre
Greater Manchester Tenants Union
Greater Manchester Homelessness Action Network
Opora

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