Open Letter From Leonie Cooper

Assembly Member highlights report linking rising homeless and welfare reforms

Dear Editor,

We recently saw City Hall release a report exploring the widely established link between the Government's welfare reforms and rising levels of homelessness.

Cuts to Local Housing Allowance, the Benefit Cap and the rollout of both the ‘Bedroom Tax' and Universal Credit have plunged many local people into huge rent arrears, and in some cases, onto the streets.

The already precarious living situation of the most vulnerable families in our community has been exacerbated by increases in rents and the costs of living.

If the Government is serious about achieving its aim of ending homelessness by 2027, they need to listen to the recommendations of charities and reconsider a number of the damaging changes they have made to the welfare system.

A good start would be to abolish the current five-week wait for Universal Credit claimants to receive their first payment. This has caused serious hardship for too many Londoners.

On top of this, we also need to see the Government act to strengthen tenants' rights in an often harsh and unforgiving private rented sector by swiftly abolishing section 21 evictions and introducing open-ended tenancies.


Leonie Cooper AM
London Assembly Member for Merton and Wandsworth

October 30, 2019