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From The Socialist newspaper, 25 February 2015

End the housing crisis!

■Rent control now

■Build council homes

Housing emergency!

Housing emergency!   (Click to enlarge)

Helen Pattison, East London Socialist Party

"Social housing not social cleansing" shout the Newham E15 mums on their regular campaign stalls. Rising private sector rents and cuts to social housing stocks makes it feel like social cleansing is exactly what's taking place. It was over a year ago that Newham all-Labour council closed Focus E15, a homeless hostel housing 30 young mothers and their babies, along with 130 other residents.

The housing crisis shouldn't be a shock. The Tories have been whittling away social housing provisions throughout this government. In 2013 it was reported that contractors could have their obligation to provide social housing as part of new developments waived if it would make the project 'unprofitable'. The same obligations weren't being met in 60% of cases anyway.

Now redevelopments of empty buildings will similarly have this requirement dropped. Add this to local council cuts and closures such as Focus E15 and the problem is set to increase. The Olympic Park was supposed to relieve the pressure on housing by bringing to the borough 11,000 homes, a third of which would be affordable. But the government's version of 'affordable' (80% market rate) is well above average Newham incomes. Residents being told to uproot themselves and move to Luton, Birmingham or Belfast continue to make poorer communities feel like they aren't welcome in London.

To add insult to injury Newham council has just passed on an opportunity to help relieve the problem. West Ham football club is moving into the Olympic Stadium and its old ground at Upton Park is being turned into an 800-home 'village'. The council has outrageously agreed that this can be completely free of social housing.

Genuinely affordable homes (or better yet council ones) are desperately needed in Newham. With the general election around the corner you'd think politicians would push for at least some social housing to be included in this high profile development! Instead a private developer is boasting that there is none.

We need a huge fight - including standing Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidates - for council house building and a rent cap in the private sector. The housing crisis has been developing for decades. In that time successive government and local councils have been pitifully slow in building houses. When they have set quotas they have been minimal and still not been met. New developments are treated as investment opportunities for businesses rather than homes for local people.

We're not willing to take this attack lying down. Local campaigns have been popping up across London. Residents are occupying social housing threatened with becoming luxury flats. In some areas teams of people have prevented evictions. Unite the Union, alongside TUSC and various housing campaigns, organised the March for Homes in January. It's time for a concerted fight against rocketing rents and for good quality, affordable council housing.

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In The Socialist 25 February 2015:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Kick out corrupt politicians

End the housing crisis!

Councils at breaking point: the strategy to fight back

Put the bankers in the stocks!

Defend the right to protest

Them & Us


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

May Day greetings: Implacable resolve of lowest paid

Nine-fold growth for Grimsby Socialists

Campaign news in brief


International socialist news and analysis

Greece: Syriza at a crossroad

Ireland: five anti-water charges protesters jailed


2015 elections

Bristol Greens back 'shocking' austerity policies

Warrington 'vanity project' youth service cuts

With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Election appeal: Funded by you - not by big business


Socialist Party workplace news

Left scares Usdaw leadership in elections

Unison activists challenge New Labour

Socialists in Unison call for solidarity with PCS

How to strike against privatisation


Reviews and readers' comments

When women's solidarity won battle for trawlermen

Worse off than our parents

Fight tuition fees - support the TUSC alternative

TV football deal: Reclaim the game for the fans


Socialist history

50 years on: the assassination of Malcolm X


 

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Related links:

Housing:

triangleHaringey protests HDV - but Labour fails to kill it off completely

triangleRent doubles in a decade: cap rents, build council homes!

triangle'Occupy to save the town square'

triangleUniversal credit: set up to fail

triangle2m to remove Grenfell-type cladding: residents to get bill

Homes:

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleGentrification scourge hits Kent

triangleNo to the Woolwich monster block

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

Newham:

triangleEast London Socialist Party: How do we defeat academies in Newham?

triangleTeachers strike again as anti-academy pressure mounts

London:

triangleBuilding the campaign against clearances of the working class

triangleNorth London Socialist Party: When Liverpool council defied the Tories

Government:

triangleLeeds Socialist Party: How long can May cling on for?

Rents:

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

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