Lockdown Is Revealing the Need for Land Reform in the UK

Lockdown has made the limited space we are allowed to occupy uncomfortably stark. We are being told to stay at home, to exercise outdoors only once a day, and to only go to certain places when we do. As the government dictates how we occupy and move between spaces, the coronavirus pandemic and consequent lockdown has shone a penetrating light on deeper-set issues concerning our access to land and housing, and the limits on our right to occupy common space. It’s a matter of space, not finances. On a very basic level, the government’s #StayHome strategy is an instruction based on the assumption that everyone has a home in which to self-isolate, which of course is not the case. With coronavirus forcing the government to acknowledge the issue of homelessness, last month, local authorities were given 48 hours in which to house all of the UK’s 280,000 homeless people. Councils called upon landlords and property owners to help provide temporary accommodation, but despite being allocated a £3.2m government package to speed up proceedings, it is finding the space that is proving to be the real difficulty. This is of course deeply ironic given that there are an estimated 226,000 […]

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