The Socialist 12 September 2012
Build a 24-hour general strike
Brent Labour: Making families homeless
Anthony Counihan and Isabel Counihan-Sanchez moved with their five children from Kilburn, London, to Ireland in 2007, to look after Anthony's dad who was sick. They signed away a council tenancy without the council advising them they could sub-let for a year.
In Ireland, Anthony couldn't find work and Anthony's Dad died. The family moved back to Brent in 2008 and the council eventually found them private housing in Kilburn with an extortionate rent.
Anthony, a bus driver, inherited near-worthless land in Ireland from his dad and declared it to various agencies, resulting in complete cuts to their benefits over a period of 18 months, far exceeding the paltry £18 a week income the land brought in. The council landed them with a Housing Benefit overpayment bill of £46,000!
Unable to afford the rent on Anthony's £400 a week wage, evicted from their flat - Brent council found them temporary housing in Ealing; despite all the children attending school in Brent, despite Isabel's mum being seriously ill with cancer in Kilburn and despite the fact they couldn't afford this flat either!
They were threatened with eviction mid-August, which was only just overturned by the courts. The council have ruled that the family had made themselves intentionally homeless and are waiting on the outcome of the family's housing benefit tribunal before undertaking their duty to house them, despite months of growing protests in the community.
Supporters of the family have described the actions of Brent Labour council as social cleansing, with Glenda Jackson MP's outrageous response being for them to "go to Wales"!
Brent TUSC supports the Counihan campaign and calls on Brent council to immediately house the family in Kilburn, and to write off all debts they owe to the council.
However, this is just one example of working class people being on the receiving end of the austerity agenda. The family and campaign supporters instinctively see this as part of the wider austerity agenda by the main parties.
Sign the online petition at www.petitiononline.co.uk/petition/house-the-counihan-sanchez-family-in-brent/4660
In this issue
Fight against austerity
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party feature: TUSC
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party workplace news
Fighting NHS cuts
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
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