Archive for the ‘local government’ Category

Since the start of May, Natalie Bloomer and I have been writing a series of social affairs features in the Byline Times. Check out what we’ve done so far.

Thousands of Homeless People Excluded from London’s Flagship Support Service

Last April, the ‘Social Fund’ was cut and the remaining money distributed to around 200 Councils. The fund had been used to provide Crisis Loans and Community Care Grants through the Job Centre. As part of an investigation with the Guardian, I looked at what was happening under the new localised system to the number of people applying for help – and the number of them who actually received support. Suffice to say the new scheme has been far from successful.

Read the full article here, and the associated datablog piece here.

This was an article which took a lot of twists and turns to reach the light of day. Suffice to say, if all councils were doing this type of work then illegal evictions would be less common in the UK.

“Councils have been empowered to prosecute landlords and their ‚Äėagents‚Äô for harassment and illegal eviction of tenants since 1977. The Protection from Eviction Act was originally passed to counter the types of ‚Äėlandlordism‚Äô associated with the infamous¬†Peter Rachman. Illegal eviction is where¬†‚Äúany person unlawfully deprives the residential occupier of any premises of his occupation of the premises or any part thereof, or attempts to do so‚ÄĚ.” Read the full article here.

Here in the UK we haven’t seen as dramatic a rise in repossessions as in the US, where it is a major problem. I interviewed Gayle¬†McLaughlin, the Mayor of Richmond, for The New Internationalist. Mayor McLaughlin¬†and her City Council are about to start using the ‘power of eminent domain’ (similar to compulsory purchasing orders in the UK) to stop foreclosures. Read the full interview here.