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Three things occur to me:
1) I bet they won't be evicted - there is almost certainly a human right which will trump the terms of any tenancy
2) It seems right to try to evict them - a form of punishment - why should society house the anti-social?
3) Where will they go? Will they be taken in by their own sector of society? Will they achieve self sufficiency? Will they become even more anti-social?
3) Where will they go?
I may be able to help with this question. They will go (back) to the council and will declare themselves homeless. I believe the council is under a duty to house them. The eviction, declaration of homelessness and re-housing need not involve their vacating their home. But if this process were ever to begin, under present rules, I can imagine that it would generate large amounts of paperwork.
2) It seems right to try to evict them
Well I for one think so – I'm sure there are more deserving on a council house waiting list. I doubt any political will will last for this though.
I don't favour making people homeless (which would only lead to more problems) so I think this implies a need for a third way: a form of accommodation that conceptually lies between the tax-funded housing of (a) prison and (b) council housing. This could also apply to the non-rioting but otherwise anti-social on council housing estates. Basically, for anyone who does not qualify for decent council housing.
Does the Victorian concept of Workhouses not need an update?
1) I bet they won't be evicted
Agree. The big talk we're hearing will likely have been forgotten by the end of the month.
3) Where will they go?
Eric Pickles has announced that as the rioters and their families have made themselves "wilfully homeless" by inviting eviction they will lose their entitlement to housing. In order to avoid the embarrassment of a U-turn he has also called a 12 week consultation - which pretty well guarantees nothing will happen.
I only know about the workhouse from reading works of fiction, Dickens and the like, but my picture of it is a place you go to after all other avenues have failed, in order to work to house and feed yourself, a last recourse which has to be earned. The idea has been updated into a welfare state in which benefits are the first recourse as a matter of right. Was the looting not a further update, in which the formality of applications for distribution of benefits was dispensed with altogether?
Much of the big talk has already been proven worthless - many of the culprits are being sentenced to unenforceable referral orders, rather than exemplary punishment, for example. But is there the prospect of real action from local initiatives such as this.