Last weekend’s revelation that, according to the Government’s own analysis, its welfare reforms risk making an additional 40,000 families homeless, will have shocked many. Yet here in Wandsworth, the council continues to bury its head in the sand over the human impact of the cuts and the potential cost to council tax payers of assisting people forced out of their homes.
Next January alone, nearly 2000 residents renting privately in the borough will see their housing benefit cut, with families amongst the hardest hit. Despite this, the Tory leadership has failed to come up with any plan to keep people in their homes, and continues to sell off scarce council properties that will almost certainly be needed to house the homeless.
It’s hard to see what purpose can be served by keeping up the pretence that it’s impossible to predict the consequences of the Government’s flawed welfare reforms. We need the council to come up with a proper plan to help those who risk losing their homes, and to tackle the root causes of the borough’s housing crisis by increasing the supply of affordable housing. The alternative is a picture of individual hardship, social chaos, and a rising bill for the council tax payer.
For the Guardian’s story on Eric Pickles’ leaked letter, see http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/jul/02/eric-pickles-david-cameron-40000-homeless