Renowned English poet Ian McMillan has written an exclusive poem for The Big Issue to coincide with National Poetry Day and our campaign to stop mass homelessness.
The combination of the £20-a-week universal credit cut, rising fuel prices and the ongoing impact of the Covid crisis risks pushing hundreds of thousands of people into poverty and homelessness, according to dozens of campaign groups and researchers.
“4.3 million people are behind on household bills and 564,000 people are in rent arrears,” said Lord Bird ahead of the cut. “We have reached the cliff edge of a mass homelessness crisis.
“The end of furlough has already put over a million people not only at risk of losing their jobs, but also their homes. £20 a week could be the difference between affording the rent or becoming homeless.”
The universal credit reduction will be the biggest overnight cut to social security since the Second World War, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
The Big Issue’s Stop Mass Homelessness campaign, led by Lord Bird, launched in July this year in response to spiralling debts and soaring poverty which threatens to push thousands into homelessness this autumn.