Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/916/23557

From The Socialist newspaper, 14 September 2016

Student housing crisis

Students and workers unite to cut rents

Coventry Socialist Students protesting against sky-high housing costs, photo by Coventry Socialist Students

Coventry Socialist Students protesting against sky-high housing costs, photo by Coventry Socialist Students   (Click to enlarge)

Aidan O'Toole

It's no secret that London house prices and living costs are unaffordable for most working class people. It's also no secret that students have been hammered by successive governments, which have increased tuition fees and axed maintenance grants.

It is of no surprise then that this situation has pushed students at University College London (UCL) to the edge, causing them to organise a rent strike to fight the unaffordable costs of student accommodation.

Student anger was so strong at UCL that over 1,000 students responded to the strike organised by Cut the Rent, which, after a five-month battle, won rent freezes and concessions worth over 1 million. However, the group says that this isn't the end of the campaign and plan to continue fighting for affordable student accommodation.

Rent strike

This successful example of a rent strike has the potential to influence other students to use similar tactics in the future. With the Tories' continuing austerity cuts, student anger is bound to increase.

The National Union of Students (NUS) has said that it would support and give advice to student groups that are looking to take similar actions to UCL students, with the vice principal for welfare expressing her pride for standing alongside the London strikers.

The unaffordable cost of student accommodation isn't only a problem in London. The NUS says the cost of student accommodation nationally has risen by an average of 18% since 2012. This at the same time as students' budgets are becoming tighter and tighter - a catalyst for student anger.

Rent rises rarely, if ever, translate into improved housing. Instead, student accommodation has become a profitable market for companies - like Unite Students, which makes money from squeezing large chunks out of students' maintenance loans.

Socialist Students societies campaigning on the issues of student housing have won important victories. In Coventry two years ago we successfully changed student union policy when students voted overwhelmingly to campaign on student housing issues, particularly over quality, affordability and better regulation.

At York University Socialist Students won a massive victory in gaining a not-for-profit letting agency run by their student union - proving it is possible to provide student accommodation which doesn't just line the pockets of unscrupulous landlords and rogue letting agencies.

Community

The problems students face over housing also impact on wider working class communities. The massive profits landlords can make by renting single rooms to students means that rents have also risen for ordinary families, who can't afford to buy a house.

This has led to families being pushed out of their homes with those houses then being converted to rent for students. Understandably, in areas like Coventry with a big student population, some local residents feel animosity towards students who they blame for the actions of landlords.

However, by actively campaigning on these issues like the UCL students and Socialist Students have done, students can raise awareness of their housing problems. By working with local residents groups, students and workers could get organised and force universities or local authorities to take action.

The Socialist Party calls for a mass house building scheme to tackle the misery working class people have in finding a home. We support Jeremy Corbyn's attacks on the Tories' abysmal house building record and his call for rent control.

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


In The Socialist 14 September 2016:


What we think

Labour party needs democratic structures and socialist policies


Socialist Party news and analysis

#KeepCorbyn: Fight workhouse conditions

NHS chiefs warn cuts mean rationing or charges

Fund smaller classes - not new grammars

Benefit cap could shut 67% of women's refuges

Them & Us

What We Saw


International socialist news and analysis

New 'strongman' president threatens martial law - while leaning on left parties for support

International news in brief


Socialist Party feature

Obesity crisis: government strategy offers no solution


Workplace news and analysis

Westbourne Park bus dispute continues

NSSN lobby of the TUC: an urgent time for our movement

Library workers defeat Tory cuts

Thousands of Post Office workers to strike against job losses

Southern Rail dispute update

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party youth and students

Why you should become a socialist student!

Students and workers unite to cut rents

Why I joined the Socialist Party

Join the Socialist Party - join the fightback


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

Fighting fascism with motorbike stunts

The Socialist inbox


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Labour loses byelection but Corbyn isn't the problem

Protest against closure of vital heart unit

Socialist Party members join disability rights week of action

#KeepCorbyn


 

Home   |   The Socialist 14 September 2016   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Students:

triangleSocialist Students conference date set

triangleSocialist Students national conference

triangleOver one million students strike against sexism and for inclusive sex education

triangleWelsh Socialist Students campaign and meet in Swansea

triangleMexico: The movement of 68 and the massacre of Tlatelolco

Workers:

triangleWorkers at the forefront of the new wave of protests in Iran

triangleWonderful socialist play finds Edwardian poverty not in past

triangleCammell Laird shipbuilding workers strike against job cuts on merseyside

triangleCammell Lairds shipbuilding workers walk out

Unite:

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleBlairite Birmingham steps up union-busting and two workforces plan strikes

triangleTGI Fridays strike wins control of tips

Rents:

triangleHousing arrears double, suicide risk soars - scrap Universal Credit!

triangleHomelessness, Universal Credit misery, high rents, cramped flats, isolated estates...end the housing crisis!

Student:

triangleLibres y Combativas: striking for women's rights in the Spanish state

Housing:

triangleArrogant landlords can be beaten

Accommodation:

triangleThem & Us

Socialist Students:

triangleLiverpool Socialist Students: 100 years since the end of World War One

NUS:

triangleMobilise mass student fightback

Universities:

triangleUnison HE ballot: Anti-union rules block action

Welfare:

triangleMansfield council must step in to save miners' park

Tuition Fees:

triangleFreshers fairs: socialist ideas chime with students

College:

triangleBradford College joins #FEfightback strike for decent pay

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

5/12/18

CWU

WHSmith: hands off our Post Offices!

5/12/18

Grimethorpe

Victory! Dinner ladies' strike beats job cuts

5/12/18

Socialist Students

Socialist Students conference date set

5/12/18

West Midlands

West Midlands Socialist Party women's meeting: our role in changing society

5/12/18

Leeds

Leeds TUC conference to organise fight against austerity

5/12/18

Tyne and Wear

Socialist Party argues against fire service cuts at Tyne and Wear consultation

5/12/18

Merseyside

Fighting NHS and fire services cuts and closures in Merseyside

5/12/18

Surrey

Join the march through Woking against austerity

5/12/18

Cardiff

Fight Cardiff Council's school cuts

5/12/18

Northamptonshire

Northamptonshire council crisis continues

5/12/18

Union

Workplace news in brief

5/12/18

Bradford

Bradford College joins #FEfightback strike for decent pay

5/12/18

RMT

Victory for left in RMT union president election

5/12/18

Birmingham

Blairite Birmingham steps up union-busting and two workforces plan strikes

28/11/18

Benefits

Nat West's benefit-claimant eviction policy

triangleMore Reports and campaigns 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

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

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

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


December 2018

November 2018

October 2018

September 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999