Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/791/17850

From The Socialist newspaper, 4 December 2013

We need mass house building

Not more subsidies for lenders and landlords!

Paul Kershaw

All the politicians say we need more housing. But new home 'completions' in England fell 8% to 107,910, in the year to September according to Homes and Communities Agency figures issued last month.

The number of 'affordable' homes completed fell 16% in the first six months of 2013/14. Even these 'affordable' homes are much more expensive than social rents, making them unaffordable for most in many parts of the country.

When the Con-Dems came to power they cut spending on housing but promised that the private sector would fill the gap. But they have found more money for private housing initiatives.

The government's 'help to buy' scheme that subsidises low deposit (higher risk) mortgages on houses worth up to 600,000 is budgeted to cost 12 billion. As much as 130 billion of mortgages could be financed by the scheme over the next three years with the government underwriting them in the event of default.

Apparently Chancellor George Osborne cynically joked to the cabinet that it would create a housing boom in time for the election.

If rising prices were enough to create an increased supply of housing, the house price inflation of recent decades would have produced a mega boom in house building. Instead the Tories want to secure the vote of current homeowners.

Even capitalist commentators warn of a new bubble. Economist Nouriel Roubini said: "What we are witnessing in many countries looks like a slow-motion replay of the last housing-market train wreck. And, like last time, the bigger the bubbles become, the nastier the collision with reality will be" (project-syndicate.org, 29 November). Mark Carney, bank of England governor has warned borrowers of the impact of future interest rate rises.

'Build to rent'

The government have also put 1 billion into the 'build to rent' scheme that subsidies growth in the private rented sector by incentivising institutional investors. Both parties support the private rented sector with Labour making some noises about longer tenancies but not putting forward a real alternative.

The Intergenerational Foundation calculates that private landlords get 5 billion subsidy in tax relief. A quarter of Tory MPs and 12.5% of Labour's are private landlords themselves.

A recent report by the mainstream pro-capitalist 'think tank' the Social Market Foundation concludes that governments of the last 35 years have failed to boost house building. At the 1966 election both Labour and Tories promised to build 500,000 homes a year. In 1968 426,000 homes were actually built. Now Labour's 'ambition' is to build just 200,000 homes a year by 2020.

No serious capitalist commentator projects the sort of growth in housing supply needed to address the crisis.

Rather than inventing new subsidies for the bankers and financiers, we need to nationalise the banks and run them democratically in the interest of the 99%. That, as part of a wider socialist plan, would allow resources to be mobilised for a massive programme of building truly affordable housing and improving existing housing and providing proper insulation.

London's young workers stuck in battery hen conditions

Suzanne Beishon

When you're young and say 'I never want to grow up,' you don't really mean it. But that is the new reality for graduates in London today - a lifetime of living out of a cramped room.

The alternative that many young people are resorting to is moving in with whoever you're in a relationship with earlier than you would chose to, ironically, get some space. Or as the Financial Times has named it, 'hutching up'.

Except 'hutching up' makes it sound cute and cosy. Young people aren't snuggled up like bunny rabbits.

They are being forced like battery farm hens into unregulated, poor quality, sometimes even windowless rooms or sheds in the capital for extortionate prices.

While the latest round of graduates to enter the workplace earn 12% less than their pre-economic crisis counterparts (with 60% more student debt), rents have continued to soar - 10% in the last year alone - as 'investors' continue to exploit London's housing stock.

Young Londoners face the crazy catch-22 of needing to work in London to make their degree pay, only for fat-cat landlords to swallow up that wage in rent.

As more social housing is demolished in inner London to make way for luxury flats, the situation is only being exacerbated.

The government offers 'help to buy' as a solution. But for young workers paying a huge proportion of their wages in rent, saving for even a 5% deposit is a pipe dream.

And to use 'help to buy' in outer London you are likely to need a household income of over 35,000 to qualify for - and be able to pay - a mortgage that in many cases would be even more expensive than renting.

If the government was serious about housing it would cap rents to stop parasitic landlords who suck wages and the benefits system dry solely to line their pockets.

Waltham Forest: Standing up to the racketeers

Waltham Forest Socialist Party made a splash with a campaign stall targeting sky high rents and rip off landlords on Saturday 30 November.

Thousands of Waltham Forest residents are spending more than 70% of their income on rent. So it's no wonder that our demand for the council to take urgent action gained broad support.

One supportive young couple had recently been forced to leave neighbouring borough Hackney because of the rapidly increasing cost of housing there.

They are now facing being forced even further out of London as rents in Waltham Forest also spiral.

Many others who came to show support expressed disgust at the inaction of the Labour council, who are rightly held responsible for both leaving rents completely unchecked and failing to address the dearth of available social housing.

That's why the Socialist Party are encouraging anti-cuts and community campaigners to stand in next May's local elections as part of TUSC.

If Labour councillors lack the backbone to stand up to racketeer landlords and letting agencies, they need to stand aside and make way for those who will!

Claire Laker-Mansfield

'Housing 4 All' campaigner to stand for TUSC

Housing campaigner and mother of five, Isabel Counihan Sanchez, will be standing in next year's local elections for Brent Trade Union and Socialist Coalition.

Isabel and family were made homeless in April 2012 when their benefits were dramatically cut by the London borough's council.

Despite her husband Anthony working full-time as a bus driver, the family were still reliant on these benefits to pay the staggering rent of 690 a week for their home in Kilburn. After being evicted they were placed in inadequate temporary accommodation in Ealing with an unaffordable rent of 500 a week.

After a determined 18-month campaign, the family finally achieved some success, being placed in a suitable home in Brent this year. Throughout the campaign Izzie has come into contact with other Brent residents at the sharp end of benefit changes and cuts.

Izzie launched the 'Housing 4 All' campaign with demands including no evictions due to benefit cuts, more council housing at affordable rents and rent controls.

Brent TUSC believes local councillors should put up a fight against this government and not just passively carry through cuts.

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is an electoral alliance that stands candidates against all cuts and privatisation. It involves the RMT transport workers' union, leading members of other trade unions including the PCS, NUT and POA, and socialist groups including the Socialist Party.
www.tusc.org.uk

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 4 December 2013:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Corporate Killers!

Boris - it's the system, stupid

SNP's white paper will not deliver decisive change

We need mass house building

Build action to save our NHS!

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

The fight against low pay in the United States


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Kent: Unions and parents unite against all the cuts

Fracking comes North...

Council uses court against Bedroom Tax victims

Support the fightback in Con-Dems' Dickensian Britain


Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

London TUSC groups plan for 2014 elections


Socialist Party workplace news

Save our fire service!

Npower job cuts must be fought!

Universities: second coordinated strike over pay

London University: strike by support staff

Support striking St Mungos workers

Civil service union calls for an end to violence in Jobcentres

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Is workfare coming to Morrisons?

Film review: Catching Fire

Why I believe in socialism


 

Home   |   The Socialist 4 December 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Housing:

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangleNo more fire deaths - ensure safety now!

triangleHousing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right

triangleEast London summit fails to address housing crisis

triangleProtest to pressure Labour to scrap Haringey redevelopment plans

Waltham Forest:

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Black workers and the British trade unions

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Building trade unionism among Black and Asian people

triangleWaltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Russia's October 1917 revolution

TUSC:

triangleToo much to cross the Mersey

triangleSurveying Labour councillors - will they fight cuts?

triangleLabour mayor needs to stop all cuts

London:

triangleNorth London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

triangleNo cuts - hands off King George A&E!

Socialist:

triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

Rents:

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

Labour:

triangleSheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

Government:

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

Council:

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

Cuts:

triangleTories scrap the NHS pay cap: now fight for real-terms pay rises!

Brent:

triangleLetters

Benefits:

triangleMajor attacks 'Universal Credit', half a million more face poverty

Homeless:

triangleHomelessness and evictions soar under the Tories

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

19/10/17

North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

18/10/17

Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?

18/10/17

Leeds

Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

18/10/17

Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

18/10/17

PCS

Balloting members on the pay cap

18/10/17

Art

'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

18/10/17

Council

Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

18/10/17

South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

18/10/17

NHS

Uprising to save the NHS!

18/10/17

Socialism

Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

18/10/17

East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!

18/10/17

North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

18/10/17

BAE

Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

18/10/17

Schools

Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

18/10/17

Swansea

Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

More ...

triangle21 Oct Birmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2