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From The Socialist newspaper, 27 May 2015

Peterborough occupiers protest at homelessness

Protesters in Peterborough have occupied Aqua House, formerly Environment Agency offices for the city council. The building has been empty since the council outsourced many of the jobs. Banners have been draped on the building with slogans including "social housing not social cleansing" and "end austerity now". The council has threatened "legal action to evict the squatters" - but at present, protesters are standing firm. Carl Harper spoke to one of the occupiers.

Why have you occupied?

We wanted to highlight homelessness issues, and provide somewhere for homeless people to sleep and keep warm. It also gives those left behind by the system a voice.

The site Aqua House is on has plans for 'executive' housing and offices, not social housing. The housing waiting lists in Peterborough are endless.

We also want to highlight closures of Sure Start and community centres. And Peterborough City Hospital is one of the most indebted in the UK, thanks to PFI. We are looking to stay as long as possible.

How have the public, police and council reacted?

Most members of the public have supported the occupation. The police have also been cooperating well. The council didn't have a clue what to do - no action like this has been taken in the city of Peterborough before!

You have invited the Socialist Party to speak at some of your events. We are part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC), which helps anti-cuts campaigners to stand in elections. Would you work with TUSC in future?

Some of the groups involved, such as anti-homelessness activists OpRealLove, would definitely be interested. Personally, I'm in!

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In The Socialist 27 May 2015:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Stop Tory welfare butchery

'Council of war' needed for fight against cuts

Are falling prices good for us?

NHS trusts heading for bankruptcy

'Spiderman' and political lobbying

Plymouth: Labour and Tories form grand cuts coalition

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

A new chapter in Chile's political crisis

Greece: subordination to or rupture with austerity?


Socialist Party youth and students

Fight for our future!

Stop the privatisation of student loans!


Socialist Party workplace news

Organise to strike back

PCS conference: coordinated action can stop the Tories

Determined Dundee porters ratchet up pressure

Political fund threat changes Glasgow council's tune

National Rail strike threat results in new offer

Bromley council battle continues

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Toon and TUSC slam 'cash cow' boss

Thirty newcomers boost London post-election meeting

Peterborough occupiers protest at homelessness


Socialist history

VE Day: When 'liberation' meant socialism


Readers' comments

Tories have nothing in common with blue collar workers

Working class people's real aspirations


 

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