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From The Socialist newspaper, 1 November 2017

Tories u-turn on social housing benefit cap and borrowing to build

Housing demo, London, 13.3.16, photo James Ivens

Housing demo, London, 13.3.16, photo James Ivens   (Click to enlarge)

Strikes can end this zombie government

Dan Smart

Theresa May's backtrack on capping housing benefit for social tenants is the latest in a catalogue of u-turns. The Tories are in utter disarray.

The proposed cap was responsible for an 85% fall in new home building for some of the poorest in society, according to a National Housing Federation survey. Uncertainty over the callous changes meant plans for 8,800 - a meagre sum to begin with - fell to just 1,350 built.

Of course, the Socialist Party welcomes the scrapping of the cap. But it really serves to show the Tories are feeling the heat following June's disastrous election result.

This followed Communities Secretary Sajid Javid suggesting the Autumn Statement could promise up to 300,000 new houses a year. The last Socialist remarked that he fears the power of young voters priced out of the rip-off housing market.

This proposal was, however, quickly extinguished by Chancellor Philip Hammond, who persists down the blind alley of austerity.

Crisis

Like so many, I have suffered from the housing crisis. When I recently moved to Bristol, I was very excited about living there.

But I quickly found it is nigh-on impossible to rent affordably anywhere near the city centre. In fact, I discovered many young people are now resorting to living out of vans parked on the sides of streets!

London's housing situation is just as bad, if not worse. Blairite mayor Sadiq Khan has finally responded by requesting that the government quintuple London's housing grant to build "affordable" accommodation.

"Affordable" may be a stretch of the imagination. That can mean prices up to 80% of already sky-high market rates. And he says this need only represent 65% of new builds.

Khan should build the whole lot as council homes, and Corbyn should tell Labour-run boroughs to halt their knocking down of working class estates immediately.

Working class and young people's willingness to vote for an anti-austerity manifesto has got the Tories on the run. This must now be harnessed. Corbyn and the trade union leaders need to go on the offensive, with mass demonstrations and coordinated strikes, to finish off this vicious, zombie government.

Discussions include: local government - the next scene of the anti-austerity battle?

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 1 November 2017:


What we think

Westminster sexual harassment scandal: symptom of a rotten system


International socialist news and analysis

Catalonia: Rajoy's furious response to proclamation of Republic


Socialism 2017

Socialism 2017: ideas to change the world


Socialist Party news and analysis

Robber bosses own $6trn

Fight for free education: join the budget day protests!

Tories u-turn on social housing benefit cap and borrowing to build

Unions must fight workplace mental health crisis

No to 'Carebnb' privatisation of hospital beds

Them and us

What we saw


Workplace news and analysis

Coordinated strike action on five rail networks against driver-only operation

Arriva bus workers' dispute continues

PCS pay cap ballot closes soon

North east England blacklisting conference success


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Teachers, students and parents demand an end to the schools funding crisis

The "club no-one wants to be part of" - march by families of those killed in police custody

Derby: expenses for councillors, cuts for everyone else

Health campaign groups come together in Barnsley to protest closures and downgrades in the NHS

Anger over plan to build housing on Yorkshire flood plain


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

New play celebrates Grunwick strike

Skipton show proves draw of socialist art

The Socialist inbox


 

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Related links:

Housing:

triangle"Rights are won not given" - London refugee wins housing debt campaign

triangleCladding danger: Protest 5 June!

triangleReaders' opinion

triangleCladding: Tories refuse to protect leaseholders again

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

Tories:

triangleUniversity funding reform: Fight for free, fully funded education for all

triangleSave our NHS from the Tories

triangleOur lives, our jobs, our future - Not safe in Tory hands

triangleJohnson's Tories and Starmer's Labour have nothing to offer workers

Housing benefit:

triangleTory hypocrisy over housing benefit cut

triangleTV: Council House Britain

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

Austerity:

triangleNational demonstration: 'After Covid - Demand a New Normal'

triangleWe will not pay the cost of Covid! Defend the right to protest

London:

triangleNorth London Socialist Party: How can a party for the working class be built?

Anti-austerity:

triangleDonate now to fuel our election campaigns

Local government:

triangleCan the 'Preston model' beat the cuts?

Tenants:

triangleShame on Clarion - another exploitative landlord

Homes:

triangleCladding safety: Protests took place around the country on 5 June highlighting the cladding crisis

Bristol:

triangleG7 green hypocrisy

Accommodation:

triangleTories admit guilt for asylum seeker neglect

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