Over 1,000 veterans at risk of homelessness due to no-fault evictions as Lib Dems slam 'callous' treatment

14 March 2024, 22:30

Lib Dem Helen Morgan told LBC "we&squot;ve seen a big spike in veterans at risk of homelessness".
Lib Dem Helen Morgan told LBC "we've seen a big spike in veterans at risk of homelessness". Picture: UK Parliament/Alamy
Henry Riley

By Henry Riley

Over 1,300 veterans have been put at risk of homelessness due to a no-fault eviction in the time that the Conservative government has pledged to ban them, analysis shared exclusively with LBC from the Liberal Democrats suggests.

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The Tories have pledged to end so-called 'no fault' Section 21 evictions since 2019, but have so far failed to do so. In that time, figures suggest there have been 1,333 former armed forces personnel who have been put at risk of homeless - almost one for every day in that time.

The Liberal Democrats are calling for a Section 21 ban "without delay", with the situation seemingly getting worse. However, the Conservatives have come under increasing pressure from backbench MPs to water down their Renters Reform Bill which would ban the practice.

Figures show that there were 222 cases of veterans at risk of homelessness through no-fault evictions in 2019 - with that figure increasing by 57% to 350 last year.

The party's spokesperson for Housing, Communities & Local Government, Helen Morgan, told LBC: "We've seen a big spike in veterans at risk of homelessness".

Morgan, the MP for North Shropshire, added "no one should be put at homelessness, ideally, but when somebody has put their life on the line for their country, it feels like a very callous way to treat them".

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For ex-service personnel at risk of homelessness more generally there is also a spike in incidents. In 2018, 1,655 veterans were put at risk of homelessness, but by 2023 there was a 42% increase on that figure, with 2,354 veterans finding themselves in that concerning predicament.

The Lib Dems also claim that one of the worst performing areas was the Local Authority of Plymouth, a part of which is covered by the constituency of outspoken Veterans Affairs Minister Johnny Mercer. Figures from the party suggest it has seen 48 veterans put at risk of homelessness due to Section 21s since the Conservative 2019 manifesto pledge.

The ex-British Army captain has previously said that by the end of 2023 he did not “want to see a single involuntarily sleeping rough homeless veteran in this country”.

A government spokesperson said: "We are immensely grateful to all our veterans for their service in defence of our nation.

"This government is committed to ending rough sleeping. That’s why we have provided up to £8 million to fund Op FORTITUDE, which supports veterans at risk of homelessness through hundreds of supported housing places and wrap-around specialist care in health, housing and employment.

“Our landmark Renters (Reform) Bill will also deliver a fairer private rented sector for both tenants and landlords, including abolishing section 21 evictions to give people more security in their homes."