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Government warned to reinstate eviction ban to prevent people from losing homes during cost of living crisis | UK News

The eviction ban must be reinstated in England to ensure no one loses their home during the cost of living crisis, a new report has warned.

The Kerslake Commission on Homelessness and Rough Sleeping warned that inaction could lead to a “catastrophic” homelessness crisis, with the government failing to meet its manifesto pledge to end rough sleeping.

Its new report calls on the government to temporarily bring back the eviction ban – mirroring what was announced in Scotland earlier this month.

The report calls for a pause in benefits deductions and for benefits to be increased immediately – not next April as planned.

It urges the government to take a “two-pronged” approach to get people off the streets and ensure vulnerable tenants do not end up on them.

The commission was set up to examine the lessons from the public health emergency response to rough sleeping during the pandemic. It is chaired by former head of the Civil Service Lord Bob Kerslake and comprises 36 experts from the health, housing and homelessness sectors.

Its latest report includes new recommendations on the cost-of-living crisis and says “the cost of not acting now is too great, as we stand on the precipice of a new emergency”.

Lord Kerslake said the government’s responses to the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis “must be equally urgent”.

He added that failure to act could see this become a “homelessness as well as an economic crisis” and that the results could be “catastrophic”.

The National Residential Landlords Association said it was right to call for improvements to the benefits system, but that preventing failed tenancies from ending would be “catastrophic” and would not address people’s hardships.

Chief executive Ben Beadle said: “There is a very real danger that an eviction ban would give free rein to tenants committing antisocial behaviour and those deliberately not paying their rents, knowing they will face no consequences and the bill will be picked up by others.”

The government did not say whether it was considering a temporary ban.

A spokeswoman said: “We are giving councils £316 million this year to ensure families are not left without a roof over their heads.

“This is alongside the action we are taking to support families with the cost of living this winter through our £37 billion pound support package.

“This includes £1,200 this year for the most vulnerable, helping them to pay their bills and stay in their homes.”

Queen’s final journey: The people from all walks of life who waited side-by-side for history to unfold before them | UK News

In the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, there was a realisation among much of the crowd of thousands: history is not just in the past, but something you can witness in the present.

New university students waited patiently for hours alongside retirees and tourists from across the globe who had changed their plans to be there. At points, the hordes were 15 people deep.

“It’s just so heartbreaking”, said Laura Lang from Georgia, USA, as the cortege finally passed. “Look, I know the Queen is ‘Britain’. But she’s Queen of the world, right?”

There was a spontaneous ripple of applause as the hearse moved down The Royal Mile, past St Giles’ Cathedral, the High Kirk of Scotland, where a 24-hour vigil is due to start on Monday evening.

All updates live, as the Queen’s coffin lies in rest in Edinburgh and proclamation ceremonies announcing Charles as King take place across the UK

Crowds watch as the hearse carrying the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped with the Royal Standard of Scotland, passes Mercat Cross in Edinburgh, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022, as it continues its journey to the Palace of Holyroodhouse from Balmoral. (Ian Forsyth/Pool Photo via AP)

Watching over the scene in the city’s Parliament Square, a statue of the fifth Duke of Buccleuch. He would have recognised many of the ceremonies we have all witnessed in previous days because in the 1800s he was part of them.

“It was very moving. We were just so glad we were here,” said Patricia Parker, who is on holiday from Northampton. “I just thought it was so regal and precise. We’d never been to Scotland before.”

Read more:
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Joe Pike reports from St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, on the crowds watching the Queen's cortège
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The fifth Duke of Buccleuch watched on from his position outside St Giles’ Cathedral

The rain held off until after the cortege had passed, as preparations continued for the service of reflection due to take place at the cathedral on Monday afternoon.

A fanfare could be heard through the kirk doors – presumably the state trumpeters in rehearsal. On the roofs, police marksmen watched on with binoculars, while an explosive-detecting springer spaniel darted around the TV positions.

As the inevitable rain started to fall, the crowds headed in one direction: down towards the Palace of Holyroodhouse, where the Queen’s coffin now lies at rest.

QUEEN DIES 9PM SPECIAL PROMO_100922-VER2
Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi suggests people cut back on energy use but insists help is coming | Politics News

Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi has suggested that people cut back on their energy use – but said “help is coming” from the government to ease the burden of rising household bills.

Speaking to broadcasters, he admitted that the soaring energy price cap will cause “stress and anxiety for many people”, later adding: “The reality is that we should all look at our energy consumption.”

On Friday morning, energy regulator Ofgem announced the price cap for an average household will rise to £3,549 a year in October, £800 more than the forecast figure that was provided to then-chancellor Rishi Sunak in May.

Bills set to soar after price cap announcement – live updates

As calls for the government to act grow, Mr Zahawi said he is “working flat out” to develop more options to support people – but insisted it would be for the next prime minister to decide what support to deliver.

Either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak will take up the role on 5 September.

“I know the energy price cap announcement this morning will cause stress and anxiety for many people, but help is coming with £400 off energy bills for all, the second instalment of a £650 payment for vulnerable households, and £300 for all pensioners,” the chancellor said.

“While Putin is driving up energy prices in revenge for our support of Ukraine’s brave struggle for freedom, I am working flat out to develop options for further support.

“This will mean the incoming prime minister can hit the ground running and deliver support to those who need it most, as soon as possible.”

Later Mr Zahawi admitted that the support pledged by the government is “not enough” and that ministers have “got to do more”.

“We need to make sure that this isn’t a sticking plaster, that for the long term we continue to help the most vulnerable who have no cushion. And that’s what I’m determined to do,” he said.

Mr Zahawi added that his aim is to make sure vulnerable UK households are “resilient through next year”.

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‘Zombie government is root of problem’

‘Truss and Sunak have no idea’

Sir Keir Starmer accused the government of being “missing in action” and said it is “unforgiveable” that no further intervention has been made by ministers to help households amid the cost of living crisis.

The Labour Party has set out a £29bn emergency plan to stop energy bills rising over the winter, which would be funded in part by an extension of the windfall tax on the bumper profits of oil and gas companies.

“What we’ve got is a fully costed, comprehensive plan for this winter, which will freeze those prices, that is welcome news for so many people worried sick today,” the Labour leader said.

“That is a fully costed plan. We haven’t got that from the government or anybody else.”

Meanwhile, Labour’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves told Sky News that the the price cap announcement “will strike fear” into families and pensioners and urged the government to back her party’s proposal to freeze energy bills for the winter.

“We cannot wait any longer to act. This is a national emergency,” she said.

Read more:
Everything you need to know about the price cap
Even those who’ve done the right thing won’t escape impact of massive rise in energy bills

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said the rise in the price cap is “nothing short of a catastrophe” for millions of households and that freezing prices is “the only option”.

“The only option is for energy prices to be frozen before these rises wreak havoc on our communities,” he said.

“Then we need a proper plan to be put in place to bring bills down next year.

“As millions suffer the Conservatives do nothing.

“No policy from the government, no plan from Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak. They have no idea how much pain these energy prices will cause our country. They are simply unfit to govern.”

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1 in 3 struggling to pay bills

What have the Tory leadership candidates said?

During the latest Conservative Party leadership hustings on Thursday, Ms Truss said she will use an emergency budget to “ensure support is on its way” amid soaring energy bills if she becomes prime minister.

Ms Truss has repeatedly said she favours tax cuts over handouts, leading to criticism her plans will benefit higher earners over people on low incomes.

Fellow leadership hopeful Mr Sunak has said he will offer direct support to households struggling to pay their bills, though he is yet to put a figure on how much help he is willing to give.

Speaking to broadcasters on Friday, Mr Sunak said he would “go further” in terms of support if he were to become the next prime minister.

“My priority is to protect the most vulnerable in society, including pensioners, and I want them to have certainty that extra help is coming – that is what I would put in place,” he said.

“Alternative plans, which are doing different things – borrowing tens of billions for permanent, unfunded tax cuts – don’t actually do anything to help those most in need, risk making inflation worse and putting our nation’s finances at risk as well.”

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Woman refusing to pay her energy bill

The cap will come into effect for around 24 million households in England, Scotland, and Wales on default energy tariffs on 1 October, and will remain in place until 31 December, when it will be adjusted again.

The 4.5 million pre-payment meter customers, who are often the most vulnerable and already in fuel poverty, will have an even more punishing increase, with their average annual bill set to go up to £3,608.

Sky News has found that a third of households are already struggling to pay their energy bills.

Archie Battersbee vigil attracts hundreds of people as his mother vows ‘things have got to change’ | UK News

Hundreds of people gathered to pay their respects to Archie Battersbee, the 12-year-old whose life support was withdrawn after a lengthy court battle.

A crowd gathered with affectionate signs at the bandstand in Priory Park in Southend, Essex, Archie’s home town, on Sunday.

Cards and purple balloons – many later released into the sky – had messages written on them and were hung upon a pine tree.

The messages included “a mother’s love”, featuring a photograph of Archie and his mother Hollie Dance.

Children were in attendance and played with bubbles, and one attendee lit a purple flare as a mark of respect.

Ms Dance addressed the crowd to thank them.

“Thank you so, so much for supporting us while we were in that awful place,” she said.

“I hope you all stand by me in trying to change this law, Archie’s army, so that no more of our children and their parents go through this.”

Read more:
A mother’s fight for her son – the Archie Battersbee case

Archie’s mother spoke to journalists earlier in the evening, describing the last few months as “really hard”.

“It was a fight for my little boy’s life. If I had to go back and do it again, I would fight equally hard,” she said.

“I will continue this fight. I have got no intention of giving up, Archie wouldn’t want me to give up, he would definitely want me to continue.

“Things have got to change.”

Archie Battersbee. Pic: Hollie Dance
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Archie Battersbee died earlier this month. Pic: Hollie Dance

Archie died on 6 August at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, after a prolonged legal fight.

The boy had been in a coma since 7 April, when his mother found him unconscious at their home.

Doctors treating him said he was “brain-stem dead” and was only being kept alive by medical interventions, including ventilation and drug treatments.

His family had fought to continue his life support treatment in the hope that Archie would recover.

Cost of living: People fear ‘awful winter’ as bills continue to rise | UK News

If people are struggling to pay their bills now – during a hot summer – how much worse will it be in the winter when homes need to be heated?

From the stories Sky News viewers have been telling, it is clear that as soon as temperatures begin to drop, the crisis will worsen significantly.

After bills, one viewer said he and his partner are left with “£3 for three weeks to live on”.

Another said he and his family are reducing the amount of food they buy, not travelling to see family members, and limiting the children to one hour on the TV or computer.

Keith Ashworth, 66, from Nottingham, is fuelling his years old Land Rover with vegetable oil because diesel is so expensive.

“I was hoping to go part-time fairly soon – but I don’t think that’s going to happen. I’m working really just to make ends meet,” he said.

At the end of the month, there is “very little left – sometimes nothing left”.

He and his husband Daryl are collecting “scraps of wood” to use in their wood burner in the winter and considering selling the static caravan they own in the Peak District where they go for a break.

“There’s no light at the end of the tunnel – it’s just going up and up and up,” Keith added.

Daryl and Keith Ashworth say they are 'counting the pennies'
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Daryl and Keith Ashworth are ‘counting the pennies’

Tracey Blanc, from Clitheroe, emailed about how her energy costs had risen ten-fold in a month. She sent a copy of her bill showing £58 was taken by direct debit on 1 July, while on 1 August it was £611.

Viewer Melanie texted about her hours at work, which had been reduced, and said as she was also unable to find a new lodger, she had ended up draining her savings.

She is now working three jobs, including nights and weekends.

“It’s going to be an awful winter,” Susan Pilkington said.

‘I’ve never been more afraid in my life’

A carer who has been unable to work for eight years, Susan, said she has “never been more afraid in (her) life”.

Her energy bills have “doubled” and she has asked her supplier to remove her gas meter because she “can’t afford the standing charge never mind the gas itself”.

Read more:
Sixteen million people cut back on food and essentials
Child poverty in key worker households is increasing, study suggests

Viewer Simon texted to say he wants to take his children on holiday, but only has 52p left in his account.

Kev, 50, texted to say he lives alone in a one-bedroom flat and claims Universal Credit.

“I’ve had to stop paying my water bill and TV licence just to survive,” he said.

“All my money is for rent and electricity bill.”

Glenn took aim at fuel and utility companies making large profits, saying the cost of living crisis is being driven by “greed and bonuses”.

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Julie Martinez emailed to say she works as a health care assistant on a psychiatric ward doing 13-hour shifts and is getting into debt on her credit card for using the money to pay for her petrol to get to work.

“I have no money left over at the end of the month, and I am struggling to feed myself,” she said.

“I feed my dog before I feed me.

“I feel at breaking point. Something has to give or people are going to end up homeless.”

Two people believed dead in light aircraft crash in Northern Ireland | UK News

Two people are believed to have died after a light aircraft crashed at an airport in Northern Ireland.

Emergency services rushed to Newtownards Airport in County Down on Tuesday evening following a 999 call.

Details about what happened are scarce but it is understood that two people lost their lives in the incident.

The scene has been closed off by police.

In a statement, the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said: “NIAS despatched two emergency crews, a doctor and an ambulance officer to the incident.

“No patients were taken from the scene.”