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From The Socialist newspaper, 31 October 2018

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

March for Homes, London, 31st January 2015, photo Paul Mattsson

March for Homes, London, 31st January 2015, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Connor Rosoman, Brighton Socialist Party

Housing in Britain is in crisis. Bailiffs were called to a house in Hove on 26 October after the tenant - struggling to get by on Universal Credit - fell into rent arrears. I joined a local tenants' union which held a picket outside the house to prevent the evictions.

Many tenants find themselves unable to live alone due to skyrocketing rent prices. Under new 'co-living' schemes in big cities, up to several hundred tenants are packed into massive apartment buildings with shared bathrooms, kitchens and other such facilities. Bedrooms are cramped, leaving people with little space to themselves.

The spread of small, overcrowded housing can have negative effects on physical and mental health, and such 'co-living' spaces are another step in this direction.

At the same time, many of those who can afford their own homes find themselves living on new housing developments built on the edges of towns without local facilities and with poor transport links.

This means many working-class families are forced to drive to reach, schools, doctors and shops. As a result of the increased traffic, families spend hours in the car just to reach essential services. Instead of these poorly designed neighbourhoods, we need quality, affordable housing and decent public transport.

Homelessness

Meanwhile some have nowhere to live at all. Homelessness has seen a dramatic increase, with an estimated 4,751 people sleeping on the streets last year. This is a 15% increase since 2016 alone.

But councils have tried to sweep the problem under the rug - forcing rough sleepers out of the cities by using Public Service Protection Orders (PSPOs). Many homeless people have been denied legal aid in challenging councils that have used PSPOs in an attempt to criminalise homelessness.

Universal Credit has driven many people into rent arrears and - alongside precarious contracts and poverty wages - thousands of people in work cannot afford a home. We need to fight back against low pay, benefit cuts, rent hikes and poor-quality housing.

The Socialist Party campaigns for rent controls and we raise the demand that local councils fight back by using their extensive reserves and borrowing powers to set no-cuts, needs-based budgets.

With the Tories having lifted restrictions on borrowing to fund council house building, there is absolutely no excuse for Labour councils not to act. They should begin a massive programme of council-house building to provide all people with high-quality, affordable places to live.

This means building a mass campaign and demanding the funding needed from the government. Jeremy Corbyn should pledge now that any council which took such a road would see its funds restored on day one of a Labour government.


Them & Us

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In The Socialist 31 October 2018:


What we think

Crisis Tory Budget brings no relief from austerity


News

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Only a socialist alternative can end austerity

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

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UCU: General secretary censured but anti-union laws frustrate strike ballot

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PCS Left Unity election: ballot opens

National Gallery reps endorse Chris Baugh

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International socialist news and analysis

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Parliamentary coup in Sri Lanka


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Call to arms by Southampton council unions

Campaign building to save Scarborough and district hospitals

The Socialist sales successes in Leeds


Opinion

'Lucas Plan' film tells story of workers who set out alternative to job losses

The Socialist inbox


 

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Related links:

Housing:

trianglePouring cold water on the Riverside estate

triangleAlternative housing awards shames bosses

triangleLabour launches homelessness campaign

triangleHousing associations - stop the segregation

triangleShac to name and shame housing bosses

Universal Credit:

triangleLifting the mood

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleBuild a universal safety net - abolish Universal Credit!

triangleUniversal Credit disaster behind foodbank rise

Rents:

triangleActivists rally in fight for more council housing and against high rents

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

triangleUniversal credit = universal misery

Homelessness:

triangleThem & Us

triangleCuts councils massage homelessness figures

London:

triangleFantastic RMT London Underground victory

Homes:

triangleLabour's nationalisation plan: What policies are needed to avert climate catastrophe?

Transport:

triangleWoolwich ferry workers begin ten days of strike action

Homeless:

triangleThem & Us

Tenants:

triangleNo-fault evictions ban, but cuts leave tenants vulnerable

Council:

triangleWarning lights flashing for Corbynism

Households:

triangleThe Tories' letting fee ban is full of holes - we need rent controls and council homes!

Low pay:

triangleLow pay, long hours, isolation - a taxi driver speaks out

Hove:

triangleDeliveroo cedes ground in Brighton dispute

Wages:

triangleUsdaw ADM 2019

Evictions:

triangleTory on homeless: "tear down these tents"

Public transport:

triangleFresh inquest into killer air pollution: nationalise energy and public transport!

Poverty:

triangleKnife crime tragedy linked to council cuts

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