Today’s Queen’s Speech: We need solutions, not contradictions

In today’s Queen’s Speech, the Government unveiled its legislative measures for the next parliamentary year. This included:


  • New legislation improving the regulation of social housing to strengthen the rights of tenants and ensure better quality, safer homes (Social Housing Regulation)
  • The reintroduction of the Renters Reform Bill, abolishing Section 21 evictions, also known as ‘no-fault’ evictions
  • A Public Order Bill introducing legislation to allow police more power to make the streets safer. Government commentators suggest that this will result in the Vagrancy Act being replaced, criminalising people sleeping rough


At Keystage we welcome any and all reforms that provide protection to those in vulnerable living situations. However, today’s Queen’s Speech seems to contradict itself. Our CEO, James O’Grady, shares his thoughts:


“While the legislative decisions communicated in today’s Queen’s Speech may have been made with every good intention to support those in need and drive forward the Levelling Up Agenda, there are elements which, sadly, contradict each other. 


While we applaud the introduction of legislation that will see the improvement of social housing, the strengthening of tenants’ rights and the abolishment of Section 21 “no-fault evictions”, we see a major chasm opening up in the protection of vulnerable people when at the same time a Public Order Bill will see the introduction of laws giving police more powers to keep the streets safer. As some quarters are suggesting, this could see the Vagrancy Act being replaced – essentially making it a criminal offence to sleep rough.


We cannot add momentum to the revolving door of homelessness if we are making the very act of having to find shelter on the streets a crime. We need more understanding about the reasons people face a life on the streets, so that we can break the cycle. More needs to be done to proactively support early intervention for those within our communities where policy and law is only ever the reactive measure, but never the answer.


With the cost of living crisis a very real daily threat to many, we must remember that any one of us could face financial ruin; it takes just three poor financial decisions, and the prospect of losing our homes becomes very real. We must prevent this from happening. And if it does happen, we must have support in place to catch people before they fall through the gaps. 

Our vision at Keystage is to end homelessness and this means working with policy makers and the community to provide solutions that tackle a complex problem, with empathy and positive action. But we need to see policy support an effective approach; we need those at the top to support our and our partners’ activities if we are to be impactful in combatting homelessness.


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