Former prime minister Gordon Brown has called for a national effort to make sure the virus crisis does not lead to a generation of homeless people.
He told The Big Issue magazine the ban on evictions should not have been lifted, adding that homelessness often led to unemployment.
Mr Brown, who has launched an Alliance For Full Employment to tackle the threat of mass unemployment, said the best route out of poverty and homelessness was a job.
He wrote: “Coronavirus must not lead to a new homeless generation. For 20 years The Big Issue, governments and community groups have worked to end rough sleeping and when investment was made and determination demonstrated we proved that we could make a difference.
“Now we face a new challenge. All too often being homeless also means being jobless. Like The Big Issue, our Alliance For Full Employment wishes to end both. ”
Mr Brown said his jobs alliance complemented The Big Issue’s Ride Out Recession Alliance (RORA), which was also campaigning against homelessness and unemployment.
“The Chancellor’s newly announced Winter Recovery Plan offers nothing new for the 1.5 million currently unemployed, nothing new for the 900,000 on Universal Credit who will soon be registered as unemployed and nothing new for the three million excluded from the furlough scheme as self-employed,” he said.
“But the most glaring omission is an improvement to the inadequate Kickstart programme for young people.
“While Kickstart will take on 350,000 young people for six months, there will still be 500,000 under-25s falling through the net and condemned to the breadline – a lost Covid generation with no work and no hope. This is not the levelling up promised by this government.
“We may not yet have a vaccine to stop the spread of the virus, but we do have the economic know-how to stop the rapid spread of unemployment.”
Paul McNamee, editor of The Big Issue, said: “The need to come up with smart, swift and telling solutions to the crisis that lies ahead for so many is urgent.
“As prime minister in 2008, Gordon Brown helped saved the global financial system. To have him promote and back what The Big Issue is doing with RORA is an important and significant intervention.
“As a society we need to make sure that while Covid endangers the lives and livelihoods of so many, those of us who can do unite to prevent homelessness spiralling. It’s the battle of our time.”
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