Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 20 January 2016

Housing crisis reaches level of 1960s, half struggle with rent

Bob Severn, private tenant, Birmingham

Imagine that you live in a terraced house on a street that has, at one end, an airport and, at the other, a large factory. One day you get an email from your landlord that the rent is to increase 25%. This price hike, you are told, is actually a "discount" - as it is slightly below the "market rate".

But millions of people don't need to imagine such landlord generosity, as this tale is just one example of the real-life misery caused by Britain's housing crisis.

Shelter has found that 53% of private renters are struggling to pay the rent. The housing charity says that the homes crisis has reached 1960s levels.

50 years ago around one fifth of households were privately rented. This was reduced to one tenth by 1990. Now it's back to a fifth.


Shelter says 250,000 homes need to be built a year - twice the supposed current rate - half of which should be "affordable".

Less than 10,000 social homes were built in the last financial year. Even those aren't necessarily affordable as housing associations can charge 80% of rocketing private rates. At the same time, 64,710 households are living in temporary accommodation.

The government says it is "determined to create a bigger, better private rented sector". This is Tory spin for increasing the massive subsidies and tax breaks they give to private landlords and builders from the public purse.

We don't need a bigger gang of landlords filling their back pockets! We need rent caps instead of benefit caps, combined with a massive council house building and renovation programme.

200,000 council homes face axe

Tessa Warrington, private tenant, Leicester

Almost 200,000 council homes will go by 2020 if the Tory housing bill passes through parliament. It would force councils to sell one in every eight council properties through the 'right to buy' scheme.

Over five million people are waiting for social housing in Britain. Since 2010 when the Tory-led Coalition came to power, housebuilding has plummeted - while rents and property prices have sky-rocketed. There is a critical shortage of genuinely affordable homes, and homelessness is rising exponentially as a result.

Thatcher's government brought in right to buy in the 1980s. A third of ex-council homes are now owned by private landlords - in London a sickening 50%.

Scandalously, Charles Gow, the multimillionaire son of the very minister who introduced right to buy, is now a buy-to-let landlord. He owns scores of former council flats.

The idea of really affordable housing is a joke in London. Desperate tenants pay extortionate rents.

Boosting right to buy will only make this worse, with homes selling to overseas investors and buy-to-let landlords rather than those in housing need. The 200,000 homes sold will do nothing to plug the five-million-home gap.


Today's generation of low-paid and zero-hour contract workers cannot even begin to think about taking on a mortgage. Those who benefit are Cameron's rich chums.

What we need is to immediately stop all sell-offs, and begin an intensive program of building decent accommodation that is publicly owned, with democratically decided, genuinely affordable rents.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 20 January 2016:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Unite the fightback: Coordinated strikes needed

United workers' action can save NHS

Water firms' 1.2bn in profit off human need

Political policing: Met spy targeted socialists

Trident debate: socialist programme needed

Housing crisis reaches level of 1960s

Civil service: 1bn on consultants

Outrageous attacks on Corbyn for 'sexism'

Them & Us

Socialist history

1986 Wapping strike - Defeat of the print unions

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

People's Budget meeting success

Carmarthenshire Unison campaigns against council cuts

Unite the Union local government committee votes for no-cuts budgets

Preparing a no-cuts people's budget

Momentum and democracy in Hackney and beyond

Angry Labour meeting puts councillors under fire

Gateshead carers oppose respite centre closures

Celebrating Eleanor Marx's birthday

Socialist Party workplace news

Nationalise Tata to save steel jobs!

Tube workers to strike again to defend jobs and conditions

Reinstatement victory for John Vasey

Shop workers lobby council against Sunday opening

Workplace news in brief

International socialist news and analysis

USA: Fight the billionaire class!

China: Financial turmoil spreads fear across global markets

Northern Ireland: Defy anti-abortion laws

Socialist Party comments and reviews

Letters to the Socialist


Home   |   The Socialist 20 January 2016   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleTories pledge three-year private tenancies: fight for rent caps and council homes

triangleGrenfell disaster: one year on, still no prosecutions, still no adequate housing..

triangleSeattle council repeals Amazon Tax

triangleHousing strike against individualised pay enters week two

trianglePay rises of 283% needed for most to afford London homes


triangleWomen's Lives Matter launched in Leeds to fight domestic violence service cuts

triangleSummer of discontent on the cards in Huddersfield bin workers' dispute

triangleService users and families protest learning disability service cuts

triangleBin workers take strike action after talks with Kirklees council collapse


triangleTottenham block evacuations a test for 'Corbynista council'

triangleRefugee suicide scandal

triangleCapitalism's Grenfell shame


triangleYoung people trapped in private rental

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


triangleGrenfell: survivors not rehoused, inquiry not independent, blocks not safe


triangleSweden: Socialist elected leader of 77,000-strong tenants' union


triangleThe Socialist inbox

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis



Britain bakes as water pipelines leak



600 more retail jobs on the line: workers must not pay for the bosses' high street crunch!


Them & Us

Them & Us


Universal Credit

Minister's benefits lie: sack the Tories - and scrap universal credit


The Socialist

Tories in crisis - Act now to get them out!



Walk Out against Trump and Tories



NSSN conference 2018


Public services

Social care funding crisis: no to an age levy - make the super-rich pay


What we saw

What we saw


Them & Us

Them & us



British state complicit in torture and rendition: put Blair and Straw in the dock!



EU lets 200 refugees drown in three days



Tories pledge three-year private tenancies: fight for rent caps and council homes



NHS at 70: a fight for our lives!



NHS: underfunded, under attack

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018