Getting rid of these spikes is a small gesture, but a huge step in acceptance and care, which will help to break down barriers, allowing us to engage more fully with the poverty and need which lies on our very doorsteps.”
In 2012 legislation to curb the rights of squatters in the UK was a mixed bag. As we reported in 2012 the changes meant that squatters might still attempt to move in to your property but at least now you would have legal powers to have them evicted. The law in 2012 was not set to change as far as non-residential properties went.
But almost three years on the housing crisis in the UK is out of control.
The rot began when Tory PM Margaret Thatcher allowed tenants to buy their council owned houses but at the same time limited the ability of councils to build new properties. The UK has also experienced housing bubbles which have spectacularly burst leaving people without a roof over their heads and more.
During the Thatcher era of British politics housing was de-regulated. This opened the door for unscrupulous landlords. Long term, secure and safe tenancies went to the wall and instead short term leases became the norm.
Current sky high prices and rents in parts of the south of England, notably London, has put decent housing out of reach of many young people and adults living on a poor income.
In 2013, 112,070 people declared themselves homeless in England. This figure represented a 26% increase in four years.
The ever increasing number of homeless people and those in work having to rely on welfare top-ups and food banks to survive is a black-mark against the British government.
The introduction of the spare bedroom tax on housing benefit added more pain to the vulnerable and poor and helped increase the number of homeless further.
Government figures from March 2015 claim:
If faced with the loss of their home, any household can apply to their local authority for acceptance for housing assistance. A household is considered homeless if they no longer have a legal right to occupy their accommodation or if it would no longer be reasonable to continue to live there, for example,if living there would lead to violence against them.
But no matter how government departments and ministers try to spin the homeless statistics the issue will not go away.
Homeless families in Britain: Shelter's analysis shows increase in homelessness in England
Second quarter 2011 Second quarter 2014
Action is needed and one tiny step in the right direction is HSBC and others removing anti-homeless spikes.
Update: A petition demanding the spikes be removed appears to have worked but there is a but!
Petition organiser Chris reports "HSBC head office have said they'll take the spikes down outside their branch on Birmingham New Street. After loads of us sent messages to HSBC on Facebook, Twitter and email, they announced on their Facebook wall that they'd take the spikes down - this is fantastic news and all thanks to thousands of us taking actions together. BUT before we get too excited, we've got to make sure HSBC are definitely going to remove the spikes. A few of us have had email replies from the New Street HSBC manager defending the spikes and nowhere did she say they’d take the spikes down."
Finally November 24 the spikes have gone but Chris Brees has started another petition which you can find here
BBC - HSBC bank 'helped clients dodge millions in tax'
Hodge tells Rona Fairhead resign over HSBC scandal
HSBC to cut 50,000 jobs worldwide
Accused of a conflict of interest Fairhead must surely be toast?
With criticism over the sale of the BBC's former Television House studios in West London to a consortium Fairhead is under attack from all sides.
In a Guardian report in September 2014 it was noted her husband Tom is a private equity boss who served as a Tory councillor for 16 years and that the couple are "friendly" with George and Frances Osborne!