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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

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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:

triangleNo-fault evictions ban, but cuts leave tenants vulnerable

triangleLabour looks to Bank of England to stall house prices

triangleAlternative housing awards

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

triangleReal life on Universal Credit: "As soon as I get billed for my electric, I'm finished"

Universal Credit:

triangleEnd Tory cold cruelty: life under austerity in Merthyr

triangleCuts and chaos. Enough. General election now!

triangleUniversal Credit forces women into 'survival sex': scrap it now!

triangleTories out. Scrap Universal Credit. Fight for living wages and welfare!

Rents:

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

triangleUniversal credit = universal misery

triangleRents soar 60% faster than pay - while spivs plan luxury homes on Green Belt

Homelessness:

triangleThem & Us

triangleCuts councils massage homelessness figures

London:

triangleNewham bin workers ballot for strikes

Homes:

triangleSocial cleansing continues in Southwark

Transport:

triangleBoot out failing Grayling and the other Tory wreckers

Homeless:

triangleThem & Us

Tenants:

trianglePoor doors, segregated playgrounds

Council:

triangleCuts drive council tax debt

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:

triangle20 years of the minimum wage: Fight for a real living wage for every worker

Evictions:

triangleTory on homeless: "tear down these tents"

Public transport:

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

Poverty:

triangleWorking families in poverty: fund homes and childcare

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