A further reality check for the sound bite politicians that are wanting to kick in the social housing front doors of those convicted of being involved in the recent riots.
Eviction of families as punishment ‘will only make matters worse’. Charities and housing groups are warning that plans to evict entire families as punishment for teenagers’ rioting could drive up homelessness, damage the prospects of innocent siblings, and lead to worsening social problems. Julia Unwin, Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, has warned that evictions will be legally risky, ethically tricky and practically very difficult.
It really is tempting to go for such a swift and visible demonstration of society’s disgust at the behaviour of the rioters, but is it not passing the buck? Eviction doesn’t equate to elimination or evaporation, these families won’t disappear from the radar of either the benefit system or social services. So, unless the politicians have got a magic wand, they really do need to stop take a breath and find a proper solution and not one that just makes things worse for even longer.
To quote from the Local Government Chronicle on-line:
“Tough talk from ministers and councils on evicting those found to be involved in rioting from social homes is unlikely to be realised in practice, legal experts have said.
Councils across the country have threatened to evict tenants found guilty of involvement in the rioting over the past week. However legal experts have said there remain a number of obstacles to evictions and that the tough talk from councils and ministers was unlikely to lead to a slew of evictions due to legal barriers and the cost of pursuing evictions, which can be over £20,000 per case.
Emma Salvatore, a legal executive at Trowers & Hamlin, said government proposals to allow rioters to be evicted regardless of where they committed anti-social behaviour would require statutory legislation, which will take time, and that the offence would still need to be indictable, so heard in a crown rather than magistrates court.”
The politicians need to stop sound biting and headline grabbing, figure out what they can actually do to sort things out and stop telling others – the police, the courts – how to do their job.