Hunt’s Spring Budget Fails to Address National Crisis of Unsafe Housing

Credits: Open Democracy

Earlier this week, a distressing revelation surfaced regarding the role of temporary accommodation in the deaths of dozens of children in the UK.

Between April 2019 and March 2023, 55 children in England died unexpectedly, with their living conditions being a contributing factor. Shockingly, 42 of these children were aged one or under.

Consider the tragic scenario: You have no permanent home. Due to the chronic housing shortage, your family is placed in temporary accommodation, perhaps a hostel or a substandard B&B.

The living conditions are damp and unsuitable. Then, unimaginably, your infant child dies. You become a statistic, a fleeting headline before the media moves on.

Jeremy Hunt (Credits: Social Housing)

By last Christmas, there were 139,000 children in temporary accommodation in England alone. When the current government came into power in 2010, this number was just over 60,000, excluding children in temporary places in the devolved nations.

While some families genuinely need temporary accommodation due to their circumstances, such as a need for security or stability, it is unacceptable when the living conditions contribute to the death of infants. This is not a report from the mid-19th century but a stark reality of the 21st century.

These children will face limited life choices and will be deeply affected by their experiences. The repercussions for them, their families, and society at large will be profound and far-reaching.

The financial costs are also staggering. The bill for housing families in temporary accommodation across England for the upcoming year is estimated to reach £2.1 billion. As councils face severe cuts to all services, meeting these bills will be a monumental challenge, especially as the problems continue to escalate.

The lack of affordable housing and cuts to local social services that can prevent homelessness will only exacerbate the crisis. It’s important to remember that many people slipping into homelessness are employed, often victims of eviction orders or unable to afford skyrocketing rent prices.

Following the recent Spring Budget, there was speculation about the timing of a general election and whether certain measures, such as the national insurance cut and changes to the child benefit system, were intended as election sweeteners.

However, these discussions seem insignificant when the government fails to address the escalating crisis of children in temporary accommodation.

The grim reality is clear: We are not in the sunlit uplands promised to us, but rather facing a harsh reality that is often glossed over. The plight of children in temporary accommodation should be at the forefront of national discourse, not sidelined or ignored.

Im Ashley, I'm from India but you will often find me covering non india celebrity news.