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From The Socialist newspaper, 8 January 2014

Greedy landlords create housing hell

Simon Carter

As Tory party leaders David Cameron and George Osborne prepare another vicious government cut to housing benefit in their 'year of hard truths' it's reported that Fergus Wilson - one of Britain's largest private landlords - says he will not accept any more applicants who rely on housing benefit to pay rent.

"Rents have gone north and benefit levels south", said Wilson, who has recently sent eviction notices to 200 tenants. He added that 'private landlords are running a business'. Yet the government has insisted that cuts in housing benefit will drive down rents.

In December 2013 the National Landlords' Association published figures showing that the number of private landlords letting to people on benefits halved to only one in five.

This is increasing pressure on low income families many of whom are losing council tenancies because of the government's punitive 'bedroom tax' and therefore have to seek accommodation in the private sector.

This dire situation will inevitably worsen when the much criticised Universal Credit is introduced, squeezing incomes still further and switching housing benefit payments along with all other entitlements to claimants, once a month, instead of directly to landlords.

Those families still with a roof over their heads in the private rented sector increasingly have to endure sub-standard housing. In this largely unregulated market sector an estimated one million homes fail to meet basic standards of safety, warmth and repair.

A report by IPPR North think tank also says that private properties are the most expensive to rent yet are in the worse condition. They add that tenants' fear of eviction allows landlords to get away with slum-like accommodation.

As well as one million sub-standard privately rented homes there were 217,000 council houses in 2011 which failed to meet the Decent Homes Standard.

Instead of forking out 9.3 billion a year in housing benefit to private landlords there should be rent controls and strictly enforced accommodation standards to ensure decent housing for all. 9.3 billion a year directed instead toward a crash house building programme would begin to eliminate the current housing shortage crisis.

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In The Socialist 8 January 2014:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Axe austerity in 2014

Another year of mass struggles beckons

Unite all workers to end bosses' race to the bottom

Truth revealed about Thatcher's war against the miners

Privatisation Act lies behind the A&E crisis

Greedy landlords create housing hell

Them & Us


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Stop cruel care cuts

Birmingham Labour 'consults' over 87 million cuts


International socialist news and analysis

South Africa: Numsa's bold and historic decision to cut ties with the ANC

Why capitalism mourned Mandela

US: Fight for $15 minimum wage heats up in Seattle


Socialist Party workplace news

CWU Royal Mail agreement: Defend our right to strike!

Hampshire Unison success shows potential for fightback

UPS workers' victory

Every job matters on London Underground

Two PCS strikes on both sides of New Year


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Is UK car building back in Top Gear?

Class injustice at Dickensian court

Time for a new workers' party

Energy Bills: Labour's 'supermarket special offer'


 

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