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Highlight keywords  |Print this articlePrint this article
From: The Socialist issue 949, 17 May 2017: Kick out the Tories! For a Corbyn-led government

Search site for keywords: Housing - Revolution - Tenants - Homes - London - Council - Construction - Manifesto - Rents - Jeremy Corbyn - Housing benefit - Butterfields

One in three borrow for rent, Corbyn pledges housing revolution

Housing demo, London, 13.3.16, photo James Ivens

Housing demo, London, 13.3.16, photo James Ivens   (Click to enlarge)

Nancy Taaffe, Waltham Forest Socialist Party

One in three people have borrowed money just to pay the rent - some from family and friends; others with interest and fee-charging overdrafts, credit cards and payday loans.

The figures from housing charity Shelter reveal that of nearly 1.6 million private tenants on low incomes, around 511,000 had borrowed for rent during the past year.

And phenomena like this are not only applicable to London.

A recent Radio 4 PM programme followed the plight of two young Liverpudlians as they struggled to find a place to set up home and start their life together. It found a pattern of financiers, billionaires and oligarchs snapping up new builds and empty properties for investment, while young couples struggle to find a home they can afford.

The super-rich see Britain's inflated property market as a safe store for funds. On top of this, the head of the National Crime Agency believes organised criminals use the London property market to launder money.

Hoarding and speculation

This hoarding of empty homes by the bosses - whether gangster or legit - is coupled with decades of council house sell-offs and the abolition of rent control. The knock-on is shortage and speculation on such a scale that housing costs now bear no resemblance to reality.

But while we live through housing horror stories, we have also watched the publication of Jeremy Corbyn's election manifesto. It goes some way in attempting to right the housing wrongs of the past. Compared to what exists now, it could represent the start of a housing revolution.

Labour's manifesto includes the following promises:

  • Ramping up construction of council and housing association homes to reach 100,000 a year by the end of the next parliament
  • Ending the Tory ban on long-term council tenancies
  • Capping private rent rises at inflation
  • Making three-year tenancies "the norm" for private renters
  • Reinstating housing benefit for 18 to 21-year-olds
  • Consulting on new rules against 'rabbit hutch' homes
  • Giving leaseholders "security from rip-off ground rents"

The Socialist Party supports these first steps in trying to take charge of housing policy and plan it for human need. We will be out campaigning for this programme to win - and for Corbyn to push it further.

For a start, we call for nationalising land, the finance sector and the big construction firms - under democratic working class control and with compensation only on the basis of proven need. This is necessary to free up the money supply and end property speculation.

We will wholeheartedly campaign for a Corbyn-led government. But if the worst happens on 9 June, we have no intention of rolling over and allowing a whole generation to be locked out.

As the Butterfields tenants and then the One Housing tenants have shown in east London, when tenants organise and fight, we can beat the landlords.






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Related links:

Housing:

triangleHeating scandal on east London estate

triangleNo to the Woolwich monster block

triangleSalford Socialist Party: Housing crisis - the socialist solution

triangleHackney Socialist Party: Slum housing in the past; and the crisis today

triangleDebate: should tower blocks form part of socialist housing policy?

Revolution:

triangleSalford Socialist Party: The Russian revolution betrayed

triangleMovement challenges Iranian regime

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Anniversary of the Romanian revolution

triangle110 years ago: massacre at Santa Maria school in Chile - commemorate 21 December 1907

Tenants:

triangleSix months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangleTwo in five 'right to buy' homes now for let

triangleThem & us

Homes:

triangleThousands live in tents and sheds - seize empty homes

triangleStop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

London:

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: The national question

Council:

triangleCorbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

Construction:

triangleCarillion and the construction industry

Manifesto:

triangleAbolish tuition fees and student debt!

Rents:

triangleTory housing policy: build zilch, hike prices

Jeremy Corbyn:

triangleSalford Socialist Party: Left parties, Greek tragedy and Jeremy Corbyn

Housing benefit:

triangleTories u-turn on social housing benefit cap and borrowing to build

Butterfields:

triangleEast London tenants fight 40% rent hike