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From: The Socialist issue 912, 10 August 2016: Stand firm for socialism

Search site for keywords: Housing - Pay - Council - Tenants - Homes - Greenwich - Rents - Privatisation - Government - London - Labour - Unite - Bedroom tax

Axe the Housing Act: 'We can't pay, we'll organise and we'll stay'

  • No to rent rises
  • No more privatisation
Axe the Housing Act! Photo James Ivens

Axe the Housing Act! Photo James Ivens   (Click to enlarge)

The housing crisis continues to deepen under this rotten Tory government. Many renters are now shelling out over half their net income to private landlords. But despite the acute shortage of affordable housing, Teresa May's ministers are pursuing a vicious campaign against social housing tenants. This is on top of the Tories' vindictive 'bedroom tax'.

The 2016 Housing Act - along with extending the 'right to buy' to housing association homes, which will benefit private landlords - will force council and housing association tenants to pay market rents if their household income is over 30,000 a year (40,000 in London). This 'pay to stay' will affect over 10% of tenants, forcing many into rent arrears with the dreadful prospect of eviction from their homes.

It is due to start in April 2017 but the government has still to publish the regulations. However, in advance of this, and despite Jeremy Corbyn's opposition to 'pay to stay', Labour-run Greenwich council in south London has written to its 22,000 council and social housing tenants telling them it will be implementing this Tory measure.

One outraged tenant, who is also an active trade unionist, told the Socialist: "The local Labour dominated council, after years of attacking its own workforce with cuts, privatisation and low pay has now embarked on another phase of the capitalist, Tory plan to destroy the lives of working class people... What is needed now is for every worker and tenant to unite and fight back."

And Greenwich tenants are fighting back under the slogan of 'we can't pay, we'll organise and we'll stay'. When the increases come through people should join a mass campaign of non-payment and resist moves to evict people from their homes. The campaign aims to mobilise local council and housing association tenants, alongside trade unionists, to fight for council housing in Greenwich with affordable rents.

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