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From The Socialist newspaper, 10 October 2012

Youth Fight for Jobs campaign: Young Londoners  Forced Out?

The hidden homeless - "Sofa surfing is my lot"

The Youth Fight for Jobs Austerity Games held in Hackney Marshes 24 July 2012 highlighted the plight of young people, photo Paul Mattsson

The Youth Fight for Jobs Austerity Games held in Hackney Marshes 24 July 2012 highlighted the plight of young people, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

At the Tory Party conference the idea of cutting housing benefit for under 25s has again been raised.

Not content with sowing divisions between old and young, Cameron and Osborne tried to turn young workers against young unemployed people by questioning whether young people should be able to claim housing benefit if they've never worked. These toffs understand nothing of the situation facing working class young people.

James Ivens explains the impact of the housing crisis.

I live in transit. Since July my kit bag and I have toured half a dozen couches and floors. Like "countless thousands" more, according to the charity Crisis, I am part of the growing 'hidden homeless'.

Britain's housing problem continues to spiral. Its roots stretch back to Thatcher's 'right to buy' legislation.

Sales gutted council stock. Private landlords extort huge sums from workers with nowhere else to go. There is a cap on benefits, but not on rent!

And that's not all. Dancing against this backdrop is the cruel can-can of squat clearance. Housing charity Shelter has uncovered at least 288,000 long-term empty homes in England.

The coalition has criminalised the more than 20,000 people living in some of them. In this time of rising costs, repossessions and redundancies, it's astonishing anyone has a home at all!

Social housing

Sofa surfing is my lot. Like many other young people, rocketing rents and insecure employment have forced me into friends' front rooms.

A colleague has been sharing a bed with his ex for months. Other friends crowd in subtenants to keep each other off the streets.

I live in the most expensive city in Britain. My latest day job is yet another casualised, menial and poorly paid position.

The remnants of the benefit system are of little help. Even with support from my parents, I can't always afford rent.

What little social housing remains is prioritised for the most vulnerable. But the result is ghettoisation of those most in need of social integration.

Even this is under attack. Labour wants to kick anyone not in work down to the bottom of the list. The Con-Dems want to disqualify households with a joint income of over 40,000 from council homes.

You would think by now a light bulb might have pinged on over Labour leader Ed Miliband's head: build more social housing! You would be wrong.

True, Jack Dromey, shadow housing minister, wants a construction programme. This would "put unemployed building workers back to work, create jobs" and provide homes - all good stuff.

But the proposed 25,000 new builds are not enough for nearly two million households in waiting. And since it clearly works so well, Labour wants them handed over to the private sector!

Young people and families desperately need quality, affordable housing. The Socialist Party calls for decent publicly owned homes to be built for all, rent caps not benefit caps, and an end to council house sales.

The main parties seem set on putting us all on the streets. I can think of a couple of houses in Westminster sorely overdue for eviction notices.

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In The Socialist 10 October 2012:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Tories promise more pain... Kick out the 'nasty party'!

Labour Party conference - not fighting austerity

Arguing the case for a 24-hour general strike

Birmingham Tory conference demo

'Millions crying out for leadership and for an alternative'

Anti-austerity candidates selected for November contests

No welfare cuts

Health workers must fight attacks on jobs and pay

Politicians line up to attack abortion rights

The hidden homeless - "Sofa surfing is my lot"

Them & Us

Transport feature

Send the transport privatisers packing

International socialist news and analysis

Venezuela presidential election

Greece: escalating the action against austerity

South Africa: 'What are we doing about this government that is killing us?'

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Why we're marching on 20 October

More success for Socialist Students

Save East Midlands ambulances

Campaign Kazakhstan: A musical and political evening

Youth Fight for Jobs and Education fortnight of action 13-27 October

Dewsbury fights health service cuts

Waltham Forest: Parents and staff unite against school sell-off

Sunderland anti-fascists stand up against divisive EDL

Socialist Party workplace news

South Wales bus workers receive strong support for strike

Fighting the construction industry blacklist

Workplace nurseries saved in HMRC

Leeds solidarity with Crossrail battle

Mid Yorkshire Health admin staff ballot for strike

Bin workers' strike threat

Workplace news in brief


TV review : Masters of Money - Karl Marx

Marx was right!


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