Is the UK breaching human rights with housing?
According to some leading charities, the UK is in breach of its international human rights duties, because of the failure to provide people with adequate homes. There's a lot of talk about the housing crisis, and the reduction in social housing in England. Elsewhere, rental accommodation in the private sector is too frequently unaffordable, and organisations are warning in a report, that it is sending families into homelessness.
Produced by Just Fair, whose has Crisis, Oxfam, Amnesty International, Save the Children and UNICEF UK in their membership, the report is going to be presented at the UN Committee on Economic Cultural and Social Rights.
It will say that the number of individuals forced to sleep rough has risen by 55% since 2010, with 280,000 homes at risk of homelessness, which is a breach of the UK's international obligations. With 29% of private rental properties deemed unaffordable, the UK is failing to meet basic standards of health, safety and habitability. Big accusations indeed.
"Housing is really about how we want our society to be, how much social inclusion we want there to be - so when we end up with a huge swathe of society that's falling through the cracks I think that shows a real lack of care and commitment," said Jessie Hohmann, lecturer in law at Queen Mary University, who wrote the report.
The Government themselves have acknowledged the housing shortage. A spokesperson from the Department for Communities and Local Government said: "The 2008 economic crash devastated the housebuilding industry, leading to the lowest levels of starts for any peacetime year since the 1920s."
"We have got Britain building again … our £1bn investment has helped prevent almost a million households from becoming homeless."