UNISON calls for action as newspaper reveals scale of London ‘social cleansing’

UNISON is calling for action to help people in rented accommodation, as research reveals the scale of the impact of welfare reforms and rising rents on those in London in particular.

The Independent has published research showing that these things have made it harder for those on low incomes to afford housing in London – the area of the UK that has been hardest hit.

The reforms and rising rents have led to accusations of ‘social cleansing’ – now given further weight with the news that more than 50,000 families have been forced out of their local communities in the capital and dumped in new neighbourhoods in outer London or out of the city completely.

Being forced out of their homes has happened when they have fallen behind with their rent payment, been evicted and made homeless.

This is compounded by the shortage of affordable housing supply, which has pushed rents up in the capital.

UNISON has warned that cuts to housing benefits have left thousands of people – particularly the young – more at risk of rent arrears, evictions and homelessness.

The union is also concerned about the impact on families of being forced to move out of the community and children being forced to change schools.

The union is calling on the next government to:

  • reintroduce rent controls – to limit rent increases – as part of a wide range of measures around licensing and regulatory standards to effectively regulate the private rented sector;
  • reform the benefit system so that it protects the vulnerable; and
  • build more social and affordable homes to widen the housing options of people.

In particular, UNISON is calling for a new housing benefit deal for young people to ensure that they are adequately protected and have access to decent accommodation.