The Socialist

The Socialist 11 October 2017

Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

The Socialist issue 966

Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

Major attacks 'Universal Credit', half a million more face poverty

IMF helps cause inequality it slams

NHS meltdown - fight the Tory cuts

Hundreds of torture victims wrongly detained

Them & Us


Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't


The fight against racial discrimination is tied to the fight to defeat capitalist austerity


Royal Mail workers fight court attempt to stop national strike

Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

Who's watching who?: The fight for justice, trade union and democratic rights

Workplace news in brief


Housing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right

No more fire deaths - ensure safety now!


Don't wreck our rec! Campaigning to save green space in Standish

Carlisle NHS campaigners hand in petition to MP

Cardiff Socialist Students confront 'Parasite' Jacob Rees-Mogg

Manchester rally discussed unionisation and nationalisation

Join the Orgreave Halloween rally

Too much to cross the Mersey


Poverty, repression and fightback on the docks

Theresa May, Frida Kahlo and turning women into wares

Shocking insight into Isis

The Socialist Inbox

 
 
 
 
 

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Housing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right

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)

Paul Kershaw, chair, Unite LE1111 housing workers branch

A standing ovation greeted Jeremy Corbin's pledges on housing at Labour's conference: to stop 'social cleansing' regeneration schemes and give residents a vote on regeneration proposals; to build more council homes and to control rents.

That response was echoed outside the conference. In the past Labour had little to offer on housing for workers and young people; the idea that Labour could really change things has been electrifying.

But Labour is still two parties in one and right-wing Labour councils are pressing ahead with destructive and unpopular regeneration schemes. The Labour council in Haringey, north London, responded to the housing resolution from Tottenham Labour Party - in its own area and adopted by conference with no opposition - by rejecting it outright!

It argued that balloting people affected 'oversimplified' the issues. Labour's leadership must ensure that democratic decisions are carried out and the threat to homes across Haringey is lifted (see 'Hundreds march against Labour council's development plan'). It would be a scandal if the pro-austerity Liberal Democrats, who have opportunistically opposed the Haringey regeneration plan, were to make electoral gains because of the Blairite-led council.

Jeremy did not give details of plans for rent controls but the very idea of intervening produced howls of anguish from the establishment, unfortunately including the housing charity Shelter.

It is argued that making rents truly affordable would cause landlords to sell up, thereby reducing the supply of rental properties. But with evictions rising and housing insecurity blighting the lives of a generation, real rent control is a vital emergency measure that would attract huge support. It's estimated for example, that 25% of households of private renters in London spend more than half of their income on rent!

Clearly, since private landlords are unable to meet the need for secure and genuinely affordable homes we need a massive programme of building secure, good-quality, council homes.

Jeremy raised the need for rent controls when campaigning for the Labour Party leadership but the idea was watered down in the party manifesto by Labour's right wing to merely restricting the rate of rent increase landlords could impose. Jeremy is right to raise it again, but now we need clarity.

Until recently housing association bosses and senior Tories suggested that social housing led to a dependency culture and were moving to wipe out social housing. Funding for social housing has virtually ceased and what funding remains for housing goes to 'affordable', ie largely unaffordable, home ownership.

Unfortunately Jeremy Corbyn's message has been blunted by the right-wing housing shadow minister John Healey, who set a priority of promoting home ownership when he took up his position. He commissioned a report from the boss of the private house builder Taylor Wimpey who came up with the conclusion that no fundamental policy change was needed!

Tories

In her disastrous Tory Party conference speech Theresa May felt she had to make a gesture of support for social housing because of the wave of support for anti-austerity policies - reflected in Labour's electoral surge in the general election. She pledged 2 billion extra spending toward a "new generation of council houses". However, it was revealed that this meant building as few as 5,000 council homes.

This is a trivial amount given the scale of the housing problem and its significance can be gauged by the fact that the government has also committed to an extra 10 billion support for house purchases.

The balance was actually tilted further away from council housing. Spending on supporting house purchase schemes - 'help-to-buy' - simply pushes up prices rather than helping people into owner-occupation; good for private house builders and banks, not for workers.

While the Bank of England is starting to panic about levels of rising personal debt, particularly as it plans to raise interest rates, government policies only draw more people into greater debt by getting them to take on ever larger mortgages.

Clearly, the need for a comprehensive socialist housing programme has never been greater.

The Socialist says:

  • Rent control now! Democratic rent councils to decide fair levels in each area
  • A mass programme of council house building and renovation to meet demand
  • Hands off our homes! End the privatisation of social housing. Stop 'social cleansing' redevelopment schemes
  • Housing benefits that reflect the real cost of renting
  • Councils should compulsory purchase long-term empty properties and use them as council housing
  • Nationalise the banks and biggest corporations. For a democratic socialist society that puts the needs of the majority, including decent, genuinely affordable housing, before the profits of the super-rich

In this issue


Socialist Party news and analysis

Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

Major attacks 'Universal Credit', half a million more face poverty

IMF helps cause inequality it slams

NHS meltdown - fight the Tory cuts

Them & Us


Catalonia

Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't


Black History Month 2017

The fight against racial discrimination is tied to the fight to defeat capitalist austerity


Socialist Party workplace news

Royal Mail workers fight court attempt to stop national strike

Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

Who's watching who?: The fight for justice, trade union and democratic rights

Workplace news in brief


Housing crisis

Housing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right

No more fire deaths - ensure safety now!


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Don't wreck our rec! Campaigning to save green space in Standish

Carlisle NHS campaigners hand in petition to MP

Cardiff Socialist Students confront 'Parasite' Jacob Rees-Mogg

Manchester rally discussed unionisation and nationalisation

Join the Orgreave Halloween rally

Too much to cross the Mersey


Comment and reviews

Poverty, repression and fightback on the docks

Theresa May, Frida Kahlo and turning women into wares

Shocking insight into Isis

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

Housing:

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangleNo more fire deaths - ensure safety now!

triangleEast London summit fails to address housing crisis

triangleProtest to pressure Labour to scrap Haringey redevelopment plans

triangleGrenfell inquiry begins: not sufficient, not trusted

Labour:

triangleSheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

triangleHundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

triangleTories torn - bin them now

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

Council:

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

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Homes:

triangleLedbury tenants fight for decent homes

triangleHurricane Harvey: A tragedy made far worse by capitalism

Workers:

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

Haringey:

triangleHundreds march against Labour council's development plan

Rents:

triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

Right-wing:

triangleOctober 1917 reviews: 'More bright than any heaven'

London:

triangleNorth London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

Labour Party:

triangleThe end of the Tories?

Austerity:

triangleManchester rally discussed unionisation and nationalisation

Debt:

triangleNHS meltdown - fight the Tory cuts

Banks:

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Government:

triangleCampaign against political repression in Hong Kong

Occupation:

triangleStudent occupation at Chelsea College of Arts

Privatisation:

triangleCWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

North London:

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Tory party:

triangleThe Tories must be driven out

Super-rich:

triangleReject Starmer's Single Market u-turn

Theresa May:

triangleCan you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

Tottenham:

triangle2011 riots: An outpouring of anger at the system

Anti-austerity:

triangleSurveying Labour councillors - will they fight cuts?

General election:

triangleNationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

Benefits:

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Households:

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Interest rates:

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Mortgages:

triangleOver a million families in 'extreme problem debt'

Jeremy Corbyn:

triangleLabour Party conference: Action against establishment sabotage still needed

Evictions:

triangleHomelessness and evictions soar under the Tories