No apologies for reposting an extract from my last blog….
“From September 1st 2012, squatting in a residential property became a criminal offence. Squatters can be arrested and, if convicted, can be sent to prison for up to 6 months or fined up to £5,000, or both.
The popular characterisation of squatters in the media, typically focuses on squatters as people who occupy the homes of others, displacing them in the process and damaging property. Squatting is portrayed as a lifestyle choice. The extent to which squatting is a manifestation of homelessness and housing need is largely absent from this discussion.
Remember to look beyond the headlines…” [Full post here]
The Government approach to the housing crisis in the most recent budget has been summed up as “the government is basically saying that if you’ve got a spare room in a social home, you will be paying a bedroom tax, but if you want a spare home and you can afford it, we’ll help you buy one.” [The Guardian 22 March 2013]
Meanwhile Squatters Action for Secure Homes (Squash) has just published an analysis of how the law has been used in the past six months since the offence of squatting in a residential building came into force.
Among its findings are that none of the 33 known arrests so far (leading to 10 convictions and 3 prison sentences) involve squatters having displaced people from their homes. The properties concerned were all empty. Aside from suggesting that the legislation isn’t doing what it purported to do, and ought to be repealed, there does seem to be a lack of joined up thinking here…
Equation 1: Substantial numbers of derelict properties which could be renovated + providing training to unemployed in a range of building related skills = more opportunities for affordable housing + more meaningful employment related opportunities…etc…etc
Do the maths ….