Sunday 26 September 2021 7:21 am

Homelessness: ‘Perfect storm' for 5.3m renters as gas prices jump, furlough ends and Universal Credit is cut

With energy prices rising, the furlough scheme due to end on Thursday and Universal Credit being cut a week later, a “perfect storm for homelessness” is looming for struggling renters.

More than a quarter of renters already struggle to heat their homes in winter. A survey carried out by YouGov on behalf of housing charity Shelter found 26 per cent of renters could not keep their homes warm in winter, equivalent to 5.3m people.

“The triple whammy of the furlough scheme ending, cuts to Universal Credit and rocketing fuel prices may be the final straw for many renters barely hanging on to their homes,” said Polly Neate, Shelter’s chief executive.

“We are facing a perfect storm for homelessness to rise, and the new housing secretary must get a handle on the situation before winter arrives,” she explained.

Energy price cap

So far, the Government has maintained that its priority throughout the gas crisis is protecting consumers, with Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng saying the energy price cap would remain in place.

However, that cap is due to rise at the start of October and some consumers could also see their bills increase if their supplier collapses and they have to be moved to a different company.

On Tuesday, Kwarteng acknowledged during a BBC interview that it could be “a difficult winter” for families, some of whom may have to choose between eating and heating their homes.