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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 April 2014

Housing emergency

Cap rents not benefits

Build quality council homes

Housing emergency!

Housing emergency!   (Click to enlarge)

Chris Flood, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate in Lewisham

My local area, the Labour-controlled south London borough of Lewisham, is no longer an affordable place to live. One of the main questions socialists and trade unionists get asked is why is there no decent accommodation at a reasonable price?

The private sector is failing to build affordable homes, most spectacularly in London and other big cities.

Even Con-Dem minister Vince Cable admits that "a family on average income is nowhere near able to afford a house at the average price."

House prices in the London borough of Brent went up by almost a third in one year. All bar one London borough has had double digit price rises.

Big cities such as Manchester also saw enormous house price rises. The private sector, aiming for instant massive profit, is not building houses - home completions are still way below pre-financial crash levels.

So how do people on low wages find housing? More and more people are renting and most rents have gone sky high.

London Mayor Boris Johnson recently approved two schemes in north London. He insisted that 30% of the flats should be 'affordable'.

By that he means tenants paying 'only' 80% of the rent on the private market. But that's still over 22,000 a year - even 'affordable' Tory rents are unaffordable to most people!

We are seeing the return of what was called 'Rachmanism' where impoverished tenants paid slum landlords massive rents for mouldy hovels.

Today it's often buy-to-rent landlords, many of them corporate, who are buying up local houses just to collect the juicy rent.

We will fight for the council to set up a register of private landlords, and a council run lettings agency to ensure the quality and safety of private accommodation. That agency should cap rents at council rent levels.

Councils used to reduce the impact of Rachmanite landlords by building flats and houses at affordable subsidised prices.

We say today's councils need to build many thousands of new houses to give new hope to tenants and also put a brake on private rents.

In Lewisham, the council should start building new council homes as a matter of urgency! As a start we call for the building of 18,000 new homes to house those people who are in the most urgent need.

We also need to fight to save the council housing we already have.

Whoever wins the May elections, we will keep fighting for real action to make the borough affordable for all its people to live in.

Labour and most establishment politicians timidly accept the government's cuts. We do not.

Help make a difference - vote Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition on 22 May and join the struggle.

Our demands on housing include:

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In The Socialist 9 April 2014:


Socialist Party news and analysis

House of Thieves

Housing emergency

Break with pro-cuts Labour now

System change to save the environment

Hillsborough tragedy - the final chapter?

OECD report: A system in crisis

Them & Us


Socialist Party workplace news

Care UK strike: national union support needed

Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) elections

Build on the fighting militant traditions of the RMT

Probation workers unite to fight off no-justice vultures

Visteon: Ford makes offer

Sparks fight on!

Homes and Communities Agency strike


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Swansea: National Front thwarted!

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition progress update

Doncaster: March commemorates miners' strike

Save Leicester Race Equality Centre

Obituary: Pat James 1930 - 2014

Help with the Socialist sales campaign

Support the Socialist with a May Day greeting


Reviews and readers' comments

Book review: Silent Accomplice

Reviews and comments


 

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