Policy work

Working to achieve systemic change is at the heart of everything we do. We bridge the gap between our clients who are living in poverty and the decision-makers who have the power to change this.

Covid -19

While we welcomed the changes made to our social security system during the Covid-19 pandemic, we would have liked to see the Government go further to ensure that everyone is adequately supported both during, and in the aftermath of, this pandemic.

In 2020 we ran workshops with clients where we learnt how to talk about our experiences of Universal Credit, homelessness and living in insecure and poor-quality private rented sector accommodation, using four storytelling skills for digital campaigning: blogging, vlogging, audio recordings and photography. Most described their experiences publicly in audio recordings in a project called #LifeAfterLockdown.

Disability benefits

The government’s harsh policies on accessing disability benefits are preventing disabled and unwell people from getting the disability payments they are entitled to. Hundreds of thousands of claimants for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) are being wrongly turned down. In order to get their payments reinstated, they have to go through a long, draining ordeal of Mandatory Reconsideration and appeal, putting them under severe financial and emotional pressure for sometimes over a year.

Universal Credit

Many of the people we support either face emotional or financial hardship as a result of being on Universal Credit (UC), or are at risk of adverse effects if they move onto it. UC’s inadequacies are only going to become more pressing as those on legacy benefits continue to be pushed onto UC. Many of these people will lose out financially and face harm as a result of the inadequate UC system.

Housing and homelessness

Access to affordable housing has become a growing concern over recent years, with rising rents and welfare cuts pushing more and more people into homelessness. Our policy work includes all aspects of homelessness issues, including national and local housing strategy, homelessness policy, property conditions, improper use of temporary accommodation and tenant rights.

→ Update to the Z2K Submission to the Housing, Communities, and Local Government Select Committee’s Inquiry into the Impact of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) on Homelessness and the Private Rented Sector, November 2020

→ Z2K Submission to the Housing, Communities, and Local Government Select Committee’s Inquiry into the Impact of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) on Homelessness and the Private Rented Sector, May 2020

→ Z2K Response to Westminster City Council’s Draft Private Rented Sector Strategy 2020-2024

→ Z2K Response to Westminster City Council’s Draft Homelessness Strategy 2019-2024

→ Z2K Submission to the Shelter Housing Commission, June 2018

→ Z2K Response to the draft London Plan, March 2018

→ Z2K Submission to the Communities and Local Government Select Committee inquiry into the Private Rented Sector, November 2017

→Z2K Submission to the Public Accounts Committee inquiry into homelessness, November 2017

→ Z2K Response to the London Housing Strategy, December 2017

→ Z2K Response to Communities and Local Government Select Committee Homelessness Inquiry, February 2016

→ Z2K Submission to IPPR London Housing Commission, October 2015

→ Z2K Response to Westminster Housing Strategy Consultation, July 2015

→ Z2K Response to the Department for Communities & Local Government’s Review of Property Conditions in the Private Rented Sector, March 2014

→ Z2K Submission to the consultation on the Draft London Housing Strategy, February 2014

→ Z2K Briefing for the House of Commons Adjournment Debate ‘Housing in London,’ January 2014

→ Z2K Briefing for the ‘Abolition of the Bedroom Tax’ Opposition Day Debate, November 2013

→ Z2K Submission to the Work & Pensions Select Committee Inquiry into ‘Support for Housing Costs in the Reformed Welfare System’, September 2013

→ Z2K Response to the London Assembly Housing and Regeneration Committee’s Review of London’s Private Rented Housing, September 2012

→ Z2K Response to the Department for Work & Pensions’ consultation on the Discretionary Housing Payment Guidance Manual, August 2012

Council Tax Support

In 2013 the Coalition Government abolished Council Tax Benefit, forcing local councils to carry the costs of support for their most vulnerable residents. This was made even more difficult by a 10 per cent cut in funding from national government. In addition, the ruling that pensioners be exempt from paying means that all cuts must be borne by working-age households. While eight London boroughs have maintained full support for claimants, the majority have introduced minimum payment schemes. This means people previously deemed too poor to pay are now expected to afford up to 30 per cent of the council tax bill.

Local Welfare Provision

As part of the Welfare Reform Act 2012, the coalition government abolished the national Social Fund for crisis loans and community care grants for those in need. In doing so they shifted the burden of paying for and administering support – now called Local Welfare Provision – onto local councils.

Bailiff Reform

Tens of thousands of people are subject to enforcement action by bailiffs every year, with too many of them – including children – suffering intimidation, injustice and distress at the hands of a vastly unregulated industry.