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From: The Socialist issue 946, 26 April 2017: Kick out the Tories! Fight the bosses' establishment

Search site for keywords: Homeless - Homes - Housing - Government - Shelter - Local government - Council - Construction - Capitalist - Big business

200,000 empty homes - 250,000 homeless - end property speculation

Demonstrators on the London March for Homes, 15.1.2015, photo Paul Mattsson

Demonstrators on the London March for Homes, 15.1.2015, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Over 200,000 homes in England sat empty for at least six months last year, according to investment firm Property Partner's analysis of government figures. Over 20,000 of those sat empty in London, worth around 9.4 billion in total.

For the same year, Department for Communities and Local Government statistics showed that 4,134 people slept rough on any given night.

Without a safe place to rest and shelter from the cold, there are many dangers to which homeless people are exposed every night they spend on the streets. Sleep deprivation, malnutrition, addiction, depression, hypothermia, pneumonia, violence and rape.

The figures speak for themselves, and it is clear that profit stands in the way of basic human needs in cases like this.

Capitalist politicians would rather serve big business and the super-rich, who are motivated by private profit instead of improving life for the majority.

Very few second-home owners actually need a second home. But a quarter of a million people do not even have a first home according to homeless charity Shelter.

The Socialist Party fights for genuinely affordable, quality housing for all - because it's a basic human need. The Tories - aided by the Blairites - have presided over a worsening housing crisis.

Corbyn's announcement last year that a Labour government would build 500,000 new council homes is a good start, although the more the better.

To help pay for it he should propose nationalising the big construction firms and estate agents - as well as land and homes held unused to drive up prices - with compensation only on the basis of proven need.

The establishment will cry: 'but it's not that simple!' Yes it is. The fight to win it isn't, but the programme which can solve the housing crisis is a simple question of political will.

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