Petition To End Housing Insecurity Handed To PM

Big Issue vendors have handed in a petition to the Prime Minister calling for an end to housing insecurity, reports the Mirror.

It appeals for improved financial benefits for millions unable to pay their rent. The petition gained close to 12,000 signatures following a campaign by the magazine to tackle the problem.

In the forthcoming Spring Budget, Big Issue campaigners want the government to boost Universal Credit to £120 a week for an individual and £200 for a couple. They also want local housing allowance rates permanently set at 30% of market rents.

The Big Issue says support for its campaign shows the public back higher welfare spending. Andre Rostant, a Big Issue seller from Carnaby Street in London who delivered the petition to Downing Street, said: “In the 21st century, we have enough resources, and enough technology, and enough wealth that nobody should be in insecure housing or homeless.”

He added, “The changes we’re calling for today are a measure to alleviate some of the causes of homelessness, but we also need structural change in the housing distribution system.”

Jane Durham, another vendor of The Big Issue based in Vauxhall, London, said: “Everybody I spoke to on my pitch signed it, or said they were going to.”

She added, “People are really for it, they think the situation at the moment is disgusting. A lot of people are losing their homes, or they are locked in temporary housing, even with children, because Universal Credit is not enough.”

Big Issue founder Lord Bird stated: “The welfare system we have at the moment unfortunately does not lift people out of poverty. With the level it’s currently set at, Universal Credit is making poverty more entrenched.”

He added: “We ought to be giving people the tools to lift themselves out of poverty, and that starts with having a secure roof over their head. The petition we handed in today is calling for changes that would ensure people can afford to stay in their homes, which would put us on the road to eradicating poverty for good. That’s what I’m in the House of Lords to do, and I’m not stopping until we get there.”