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From The Socialist newspaper, 18 August 2010

Cameron sticks the boot into our council housing

THE CON-DEM government is determined to use the excuse of a financial crisis to justify its aim to finish what Thatcher started - and Blair and Brown, in effect, continued - the comprehensive dismantling of the welfare state.

Louise Cuffaro

The housing benefits cuts already announced, together with Cameron's speech that 'no one should be entitled to a council home for life', herald the most vicious attack so far on public housing.

The current shortage of decent homes at reasonable rents is being used as a justification to discuss changing secure tenancies to make it possible to repossess social (both council and housing association) homes from those who are deemed no longer in need to temporarily house those in most need!

This is a proposal to steal from one group of working class people in need of housing to give to another group of working class people in need of housing.

It would mean councils could forcibly repossess 'under-occupied' social homes and re-house, if deemed 'necessary', tenants whose families have grown up and left.

It would also mean councils could means test tenants and evict them and repossess their homes if they are judged able to afford to buy or rent in the private sector.

We must not allow the capitalists to divide those who are already tenants and those on council waiting lists waiting to be housed, both now and in the future. The shortage is not of our making and their 'solution' will only increase the misery and insecurity of inadequate and bad housing for the most vulnerable in our society.

Council housing was not given to the working class, it was a reform fought for and won through the struggles of ordinary working people. This government wants to condemn us to a return to past times when most people not only queued for jobs but constantly moved to find temporary accommodation depending on where they could afford to live.

Already too many people are exploited by unscrupulous landlords and suffer overcrowding and bad health as a result. We must fight to reverse these conditions and to protect and extend the gains made by the working class in the past.

Tenants and trade unions must unite to fight to defend existing council/social tenants and their homes, but also, all those other people who need to be housed now and in the future. We must demand that the government embarks on a national housebuilding programme to provide publically owned decent homes at reasonable rents with secure tenancies (in urban and rural areas). This would create jobs and solve the housing crisis.

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In The Socialist 18 August 2010:

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