Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/800/18221
End the housing crisis: Mega-rich landlords are the real scroungers
Bob Severn, Newham Socialist Party and TUSC
Britain's richest MP, Tory Richard Benyon - 'worth' £110 million - has slammed benefits as "something for nothing". Yet who is living a life of luxury thanks to benefits? He is!
Benyon is piling up £625,000 a year from housing benefit claimants. So if he wants to cut the benefit bill, he should start by cutting the rents he charges.
Another member of the idle rich creaming the public purse is Prince Charles. His Duchy of Cornwall estate and the Crown Estate banked more than £200,000 in housing benefit payments from low-income tenants last year.
Landlords will collect £9.2 billion from housing benefit this year alone - in many cases for doing very little. One million privately rented homes fail to meet basic safety standards.
Meanwhile almost one million people who require housing benefit are in work but have to claim due to low pay and high rents.
In many cases they still don't have enough money to pay the rent without going into debt.
Ukip's housing spokesperson, Andrew Charalambous, collected £745,351 from housing benefit, again showing how his party is just another group of hypocritical millionaires.
Housing benefit for a private tenant costs 29% more than for a social-housing tenant. And this figure is likely to increase, especially in London where property prices are ballooning.
Newham is one of the cheapest boroughs in London for rent - yet it's now difficult to get a two bedroom flat for less than £1,000 a month.
It doesn't have to be like this. Newham Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is campaigning for rent controls.
Rent controls and regulations used to exist in different forms until 1989. They are desperately needed by Britain's nine million private-sector renters.
What is desperately needed is a crash programme of quality council home building and renovation, with really affordable rents - as opposed to the government's definition which now means 80% of market rates.
Unbelievably, London Mayor Boris Johnson, the reactionary Tory buffoon, underspent his affordable housing budget by £120 million last year - resulting in 50% fewer homes being built than in 2011!
We also need councillors who will fight for policies to meet people's housing need, rather than having councillors who are also landlords, like many Labour councillors.
TUSC is standing in seats across Newham - and across England - to fight for affordable housing.
- see also www.tusc.org.uk
- Rent control - cap rents not benefits
- Council-run, not-for-profit letting agencies and local fair rent councils
- Job creation and a genuine living wage
- Axe the bedroom tax. Tax the bankers and the billionaires - not bedrooms!
- A mass programme of council house-building and renovation
High rents, low pay and austerity measures have contributed to a situation where more than 4,400 households in London were declared homeless in just three months. That represents a 13% increase on the same period in the year before.
In Newham, East London, the council, with every seat held by Labour, has found a solution to homelessness.
Send people hundreds of miles away! Last year it was reported how 40 homeless Newham households had been pushed out to temporary accommodation in Birmingham. Others were sent to Stoke.
The latest victims are young mums and their children, being evicted from the Focus E15 Foyer, who are being pushed out into short term private sector housing.
The home is being closed thanks to budget cuts by the council, headed by Labour mayor Sir Robin Wales.
In The Socialist 26 February 2014:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Readers' comments and reviews