Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 11 October 2017

Housing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right

Protesting against the effects of the housing crisis, photo Paul Mattsson

Protesting against the effects of the housing crisis, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Paul Kershaw, chair, Unite LE1111 housing workers branch

A standing ovation greeted Jeremy Corbin's pledges on housing at Labour's conference: to stop 'social cleansing' regeneration schemes and give residents a vote on regeneration proposals; to build more council homes and to control rents.

That response was echoed outside the conference. In the past Labour had little to offer on housing for workers and young people; the idea that Labour could really change things has been electrifying.

But Labour is still two parties in one and right-wing Labour councils are pressing ahead with destructive and unpopular regeneration schemes. The Labour council in Haringey, north London, responded to the housing resolution from Tottenham Labour Party - in its own area and adopted by conference with no opposition - by rejecting it outright!

It argued that balloting people affected 'oversimplified' the issues. Labour's leadership must ensure that democratic decisions are carried out and the threat to homes across Haringey is lifted (see 'Hundreds march against Labour council's development plan'). It would be a scandal if the pro-austerity Liberal Democrats, who have opportunistically opposed the Haringey regeneration plan, were to make electoral gains because of the Blairite-led council.

Jeremy did not give details of plans for rent controls but the very idea of intervening produced howls of anguish from the establishment, unfortunately including the housing charity Shelter.

It is argued that making rents truly affordable would cause landlords to sell up, thereby reducing the supply of rental properties. But with evictions rising and housing insecurity blighting the lives of a generation, real rent control is a vital emergency measure that would attract huge support. It's estimated for example, that 25% of households of private renters in London spend more than half of their income on rent!

Clearly, since private landlords are unable to meet the need for secure and genuinely affordable homes we need a massive programme of building secure, good-quality, council homes.

Jeremy raised the need for rent controls when campaigning for the Labour Party leadership but the idea was watered down in the party manifesto by Labour's right wing to merely restricting the rate of rent increase landlords could impose. Jeremy is right to raise it again, but now we need clarity.

Until recently housing association bosses and senior Tories suggested that social housing led to a dependency culture and were moving to wipe out social housing. Funding for social housing has virtually ceased and what funding remains for housing goes to 'affordable', ie largely unaffordable, home ownership.

Unfortunately Jeremy Corbyn's message has been blunted by the right-wing housing shadow minister John Healey, who set a priority of promoting home ownership when he took up his position. He commissioned a report from the boss of the private house builder Taylor Wimpey who came up with the conclusion that no fundamental policy change was needed!


In her disastrous Tory Party conference speech Theresa May felt she had to make a gesture of support for social housing because of the wave of support for anti-austerity policies - reflected in Labour's electoral surge in the general election. She pledged 2 billion extra spending toward a "new generation of council houses". However, it was revealed that this meant building as few as 5,000 council homes.

This is a trivial amount given the scale of the housing problem and its significance can be gauged by the fact that the government has also committed to an extra 10 billion support for house purchases.

The balance was actually tilted further away from council housing. Spending on supporting house purchase schemes - 'help-to-buy' - simply pushes up prices rather than helping people into owner-occupation; good for private house builders and banks, not for workers.

While the Bank of England is starting to panic about levels of rising personal debt, particularly as it plans to raise interest rates, government policies only draw more people into greater debt by getting them to take on ever larger mortgages.

Clearly, the need for a comprehensive socialist housing programme has never been greater.

The Socialist says:

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

In The Socialist 11 October 2017:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Nasty party out the Tories

Major attacks 'Universal Credit', half a million more face poverty

IMF helps cause inequality it slams

NHS meltdown - fight the Tory cuts

Them & Us


Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

Black History Month 2017

The fight against racial discrimination is tied to the fight to defeat capitalist austerity

Socialist Party workplace news

Royal Mail workers fight court attempt to stop national strike

Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

Who's watching who?: The fight for justice, trade union and democratic rights

Workplace news in brief

Housing crisis

Housing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right

No more fire deaths - ensure safety now!

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Don't wreck our rec! Campaigning to save green space in Standish

Carlisle NHS campaigners hand in petition to MP

Cardiff Socialist Students confront 'Parasite' Jacob Rees-Mogg

Manchester rally discussed unionisation and nationalisation

Join the Orgreave Halloween rally

Too much to cross the Mersey

Comment and reviews

Poverty, repression and fightback on the docks

Theresa May, Frida Kahlo and turning women into wares

Shocking insight into Isis

The Socialist Inbox


Home   |   The Socialist 11 October 2017   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleInternational Women's Day

triangleZero new homes 'affordable' in Blairite Manchester

triangleBristol South Socialist Party: Homelessness and the housing crisis

triangleWest London Socialist Party: The housing crisis - a socialist response

triangleTUSC plans to stand on Waltham Forest anti-monster block platform


triangleSalford Socialist Party: The history of the Labour movement in Ireland

triangleRussia, spies and nerve agents

triangleLeicester: Blairites block Labour Party democracy

triangleSwansea Labour council votes for cuts


triangleCampaigners continue to demand Chorley A&E is fully reopened

triangleDerby public meeting: Women's Lives Matter

triangleFCC Environment strike solid


triangleSave Our Square occupation: "This land is our land!"

triangleGroundswell of opposition to high-rise development


triangle15 years since the invasion of Iraq: what we said


triangleNo fudge with the right wing


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


triangleItalian elections create huge political shake-up


triangleHackney Socialist Party: The Left Opposition's fight against the rise of Stalinism in Russia

Labour Party:

triangleSocialist Party congress 2018


triangleProfits up Wages down


triangleLecturers strike around country in defence of pensions


triangleCapita in crisis: bring all outsourcers back in-house


triangleSpain: millions on streets against sexism and capitalist oppression


triangleStrike continues: set dates for next national action


triangleMay's EU speech kicks the can down the road

North London:

triangleNorth London Socialist Party: #MeToo and the fight against sexism

Tory party:

triangleCabinet chaos as shambolic reshuffle underlines Theresa May's impotence


triangleCapitalists fear for their system at Davos

Theresa May:

triangleTory infighting escalates - workers' action can oust them


triangleProtest to pressure Labour to scrap Haringey redevelopment plans


triangleTower Hamlets Socialist Party: How can we get Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity policies into our local council?

General election:

triangleCorbyn's left must seize the advantage in Labour's civil war


triangleMajority of kids poor in some areas


triangleSix months on - still no justice for Grenfell

Interest rates:

triangleAmber warning lights flash on British economy


triangleYoung people being strangled by debts

Jeremy Corbyn:

triangleWhole lotta shakin' goin' on in DOO dispute


triangleHomelessness and evictions soar under the Tories

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis



Russia, spies and nerve agents



Zero new homes 'affordable' in Blairite Manchester



Spring Statement 2018: Tory austerity staggers on despite economic and political weakness


What we saw

What we saw



Sainsbury's raise really a cut: fight for 10 with no strings!



Profits up Wages down



Determined UCU strikers: We're out to win!



Capitalism oppresses women - fight for socialism!


Them & Us

Them & Us



Women's oppression: the struggle goes on



Snow chaos showed the bosses' coldness - but also workers' grit



May's EU speech kicks the can down the road



Toys R Us, Maplin: worsening retail crisis claims more jobs



Corbyn's customs union dividing line: now stand firm for pro-worker Brexit



Corbynism shows 'Clause IV' still relevant a hundred years on

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: 0191 421 6230

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

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018