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From The Socialist newspaper, 3 May 2017

Corbyn pledges a million homes and landlord regulation

Protesting against the effects of the housing crisis, photo Paul Mattsson

Protesting against the effects of the housing crisis, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

We say

Paula Mitchell, secretary, London Socialist Party

Jeremy Corbyn has promised 100,000 council homes a year if elected to government. Combined with 100,000 private sector homes, that totals a million new builds over the possible course of the next parliament.

And speaking at the end of London's recent May Day demonstration, John McDonnell rightly pledged to reinstate housing benefit for under-21s. Corbyn has also announced "tougher" standards for private landlords.

We face a massive lack of genuinely affordable housing, coupled with the 'bedroom tax', benefit caps, pay cuts and job losses. There are 800,000 too few homes in London alone, according to a 2013 estimate by London councils.

The current government, the government of the rich, wants to safeguard massive profits for landlords, building companies and property speculators, while driving working class people into misery.

So these recent policy announcements on housing will inspire many. Corbyn's job now is to build on them so they can start to really satisfy the needs of the working class, and to propose socialist measures to finance them.

'Regeneration' of council or housing association homes means gentrification and a loss of social housing - working class people's homes are replaced by luxury accommodation.

The Socialist Party fights for renovation without loss of social housing, lifetime tenancies, and the right of residents to vote on all changes. Corbyn should make these part of his programme.

Only 30% of the most upmarket homes in London are occupied full-time. Corbyn should also pledge to take over empty property for council housing.

Thousands of families have been forced out of London. Over 50,000 have been placed outside of their borough by local councils. Ending social cleansing means also promising to stop the sell-off and demolition of council homes - by Labour councils as well as others.

The Tories have already attacked the pledge to clamp down on bad landlords, saying higher standards will drive up rents. This is why it's important for Corbyn to reintroduce his policy of rent controls - which should mean caps, not just rules on how much prices can go up.

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition stands for a compulsory register of private landlords, to guarantee decent standards and control rents.

A million new homes is a very good start. Let's make that a million new council homes, rather than leaving half of them to market vultures.

Nationalising the large building companies and land would clear the way for that. And nationalising the banks under democratic control could ensure cheap mortgages for new buyers.

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In The Socialist 3 May 2017:


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