ARE YOU HOMELESS, SOFA SURFING OR AT RISK?

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2017 manifesto round up

 

Everything you need to know about how young people could be affected in the 2017 general election.

2017 manifesto round up

The UK is going to polls in the general election on Thursday 8 June.

Whoever forms the next government, their approach to the issues affecting young people - particularly those who have experienced homelessness - will determine a great deal about the future of the country.

The three largest UK-wide parties have now released their manifestos; this is Centrepoint's round up of the most significant policies for vulnerable young people.

HOMELESSNESS AND ROUGH SLEEPING

The number of young people forced to sleep rough in London, the only city in the UK with an effective method of counting rough sleepers, has more than doubled in the last five years. But many thousands more are forced to sleep on the sofas of friends and strangers.


• Continue to combat homelessness and rough sleeping including through full implementation of the Homelessness Reduction Act. • Halve rough sleeping over the course of the parliament and eliminate it altogether by 2027 by setting up a new homelessness reduction taskforce that will focus on prevention and affordable housing. • Pilot a Housing First approach to tackle rough sleeping.

 

• Set out a new national plan to end rough sleeping within the next Parliament, starting by making available 4,000 additional homes reserved for people with a history of rough sleeping; • Safeguard homeless hostels and other supported housing from cuts to housing benefit

 

• End the scandal of rough sleeping by increasing support for homelessness prevention and adequately funding age-appropriate emergency accommodation and supported housing, while ensuring that all local authorities have at least one provider of the Housing First model of provision for long-term, entrenched homeless people.

HOUSING

The lack of affordable housing has become a huge problem for homeless young people. Many of the young people we work with in Centrepoint feel like they hit a brick wall after re-entering education or finding employment, because they can’t afford to move on from our hostels into independent accommodation.


Meet our commitment to deliver a million homes by the end of 2020, and deliver half a million more by the end of 2022. • Enter into new Council Housing Deals with ambitious, pro-development, local authorities to help them build more social housing; build new fixed-term social houses, which will be sold privately after ten to fifteen years with an automatic Right to Buy for tenants, the proceeds of which will be recycled into further homes. • Reform Compulsory Purchase Orders to make them easier and less expensive for councils to use and to make it easier to determine the true market value of sites; • Give greater flexibility to housing associations to increase their housing stock, building on their considerable track record in recent years. 

 

By the end of the next Parliament build at least 100,000 council and housing association homes a year for genuinely affordable rent or sale; • Consult on new rules on minimum space standards to prevent ‘rabbit hutch’ properties; • Make new three-year tenancies the norm, with an inflation cap on rent rises. • Look at giving the Mayor of London the power to give renters in the city additional security; • Legislate to ban letting agency fees for tenants. • Empower tenants to take action if their rented homes are sub-standard. • Remove government restrictions that stop councils building homes and begin the biggest council building programme for at least 30 years. • End restrictions on long-term council tenancies to give tenants security in their homes; • Suspend the right-to-buy policy to protect affordable homes for local people, with councils only able to resume sales if they can prove they have a plan to replace homes sold like-for-like. 

 

Build 300,000 homes a year by 2022; • Ensure 500,000 affordable homes are built by the end of the parliament; • End the Voluntary Right to Buy pilots that sell off housing association homes; • Lift the borrowing cap on local authorities and increase the borrowing capacity of housing associations so that they can build council and social housing • Enable local authorities to end the Right to Buy if they choose • Introduce a new Rent to Own model where rent payments give tenants an increasing stake in the property, owning it outright after 30 years. • Ban lettings fees for tenants, cap upfront deposits and increasing minimum standards in rented homes; • establish a new Help to Rent scheme to provide government-backed tenancy deposit loans for all first-time renters under 30. • promote longer tenancies of three years or more with an inflation-linked annual rent increase built in; • improve protections against rogue landlords through mandatory licensing and allow access for tenants to the database of rogue landlords and property agents.

BENEFITS

Centrepoint spent much of the last Parliament campaigning against Housing Benefit cuts for 18 -21 year olds and we were very pleased to secure exemptions for the most vulnerable young people. However, the bulk of the policy survived unscathed and we are concerned about the devastating impact it could have on over 9,000 young people.

• Continue to run the welfare system in accordance with our belief that work is the best route out of poverty, that work should always pay, and that the system should be fair both to the people in need of support and those who pay for it • No plans for further radical welfare reform in this parliament and will continue the roll-out of Universal Credit.

 

Reverse the decision to abolish housing benefit for 18 to 21- year-olds; • Reform and redesign UC, ending the six-week delays for new claims • Scrapping the current sanctions regime • Scrap the Bedroom Tax. 

 

Reversing cuts to housing benefit for 18-21-year-olds; • Increase the rates of Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit for those aged 18-24 at the same rate as minimum wages; • Scrap the ‘bedroom tax’; • Increase Local Housing Allowance (LHA) in line with average rents in an area, ensuring that LHA is enough for a family to pay their housing costs no matter where they live. • Uprate working-age benefits at least in line with inflation.

HEALTH

Mental health is a significant issue for the young people we work with, the Centrepoint Parliament made it the focus of their last campaign. We know around 40 per cent of our young people have a mental health issue, and are concerned about waiting and referral times, the transition from children’s to adult mental health services and the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

Make the UK the leading research and technology economy in the world for mental health, bringing together public, private and charitable investment; • Introduce the first new Mental Health Bill for thirty-five years, putting parity of esteem at the heart of treatment. • Amend health and safety regulations so that employers provide appropriate first aid training and needsassessment for mental health, as they currently do for risks to physical health, and extend Equalities Act protections against discrimination to mental health conditions that are episodic and fluctuating. • Recruit up to 10,000 more mental health professionals. • Train one million members of the public in basic mental health awareness and first aid to break the stigma of mental illness. • Support GPs to deliver innovative services that better meet patients’ needs, including phone and on-line consultations and the use of technology to triage people better so they see the right clinician more quickly.

 

Increase funding to GP services to ensure patients can access the care they need; • Ring-fence mental health budgets and ensure funding reaches the frontline; • End the scandal of children being treated on adult mental health wards and stop people being sent across the country, away from their support networks, to secure the treatment they need; • Invest in early intervention by increasing the proportion of mental health budgets spent on support for children and young people, and ensure that access to a counselling service is available for all children in secondary schools. 

 

A guarantee that people will not wait more than six weeks for therapy for depression or anxiety and no young person will wait more than two weeks for treatment when they experience a first episode of psychosis. • Increase access to clinically- and cost-effective talking therapies so that hundreds of thousands more people can receive this support • New waiting time standards and better crisis care in accident and emergency departments, in the community and via phone lines. • End out-of-area placements, ensuring those admitted to hospital for mental ill-health are able to be treated close to home; • Ensure that all front-line public service professionals, including in schools and universities, receive better training in mental health. • Promote easier access to GPs, expanding evening and weekend opening to meet the needs of local patients, encouraging online, phone and Skype appointments.

TRAINING AND EMPLOYMENT

One in five Centrepoint young people lack the basic skills they need to secure employment. We provide support to get them ready for work, training or education. We know young people with experience of homelessness often need a range of support to realise their ambitions. Centrepoint has worked with government over the past few years to ensure legislation on benefits, traineeships and apprenticeships and reflects this. Young people deserve fair and consistent employment conditions.

Continue to increase the National Living Wage to 60 per cent of median earnings by 2020 and then by the rate of median earnings; • Replace 13,000 existing technical qualifications with new qualifications, known as T-levels, across fifteen routes in subjects including construction, creative and design, digital, engineering and manufacturing, and health and science; • Deliver our commitment to create 3 million apprenticeships for young people by 2020 and in doing so we will drive up the quality of apprenticeships to ensure they deliver the skills employers need; • Allow large firms to pass levy funds to small firms in their supply chain, and work with the business community to develop a new programme to allow larger firms to place apprentices in their supply chains. • Introduce a UCAS-style portal for technical education; • Introduce significantly discounted bus and train travel for apprentices to ensure that no young person is deterred from an apprenticeship due to travel costs. • For businesses employing former wards of the care system, someone with a disability, those with chronic mental health problems, those who have committed a crime but who have repaid their debt to society, and those who have been unemployed for over a year, we will offer a holiday on their employers’ National Insurance Contributions for a full year; • Will also provide targeted support for young people between the ages of 18 and 24.

 

• Introduce free, lifelong education in Further Education (FE) colleges, enabling everyone to upskill or retrain at any point in life. • Ensure vocational routes incorporate the service sector as well as traditional manufacturing; • Improve careers advice and open up a range of routes through, and back into, education, striking a balance between classroom and on-the-job training, to ensure students gain both technical and soft skills. • Restore the Education Maintenance Allowance for 16 to 18-year-olds from lower and middle income backgrounds • Increase capital investment to equip colleges to deliver T-levels and an official pre-apprenticeship trainee programme. • Set a target to double the number of completed apprenticeships at NVQ level 3 by 2022 • Allow the levy to be used for pre-apprenticeship programmes • Protect the £440 million funding for apprenticeships for small-and medium-sized employers who don’t pay the levy • Reintroduce maintenance grants for university students; • Abolish university tuition fees. • Ban zero hours contracts – so that every worker gets a guaranteed number of hours each week. • Raise the Minimum Wage to the level of the Living Wage (expected to be at least £10 per hour by 2020) – for all workers aged 18 or over; • Freedom of movement will end when we leave the European Union

 

• We support the principle of freedom of movement – any deal negotiated for the UK post-Brexit must protect the right to work, travel, study and retire across the EU. • Reinstate maintenance grants for the poorest students, ensuring that living costs are not a barrier to disadvantaged young people studying at university. • Aim to double the number of businesses which hire apprentices, including by extending apprenticeships to new sectors of our economy such as creative and digital industries; • Work with the Apprenticeship Advisory Group to increase the number of apprentices from BAME backgrounds, ensure gender balance across industry sectors and encourage under-represented groups to apply. • Facilitate an effective and comprehensive system for credit transfer and recognition of prior learning and qualifications. • Stamp out abuse of zero-hours contracts by creating a formal right to request a fixed contract and consult on introducing a right to make regular patterns of work contractual; • Introduce a new Young Person’s Bus Discount Card, for young people aged 16–21, giving a two-thirds discount on bus travel – allowing young people to access education, apprenticeships and work.

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