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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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News

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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

Precarious workers march against gig economy


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International socialist news and analysis

Bolsonaro - a threat to workers and all oppressed people

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:

triangleUnite housing branch supports stand of Enfield councillor

triangleEast London Socialist Party: Election 2019 - fighting for housing for all

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: The solution to the housing crisis

triangle£1 million cuts plan: Peabody housing workers announce strike ballot

triangleLabour's mass social housing pledge

Universal Credit:

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: A socialist programme on housing

triangleAusterity anger feeds movement for Welsh independence

triangleLeicester Socialist Party: Universal Credit - Universal Misery

triangleFighting Universal Credit

Rents:

triangleHousing - bold, socialist measures necessary

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

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

Homelessness:

triangleUnsafe, unaffordable housing scandal

triangleLabour launches homelessness campaign

London:

triangleEast London Socialist Party: After the general election - what now?

Homes:

triangleNorth London Socialist Party: How can Corbyn's policies be implemented?

Transport:

triangleTransport for London - Justice for cleaners!

Homeless:

triangleThem & Us

Tenants:

triangleHow working-class tenants beat Gentrification

Council:

triangleBarking: protest brings pledge to remove dangerous decking

Households:

triangleWhat we saw

Low pay:

triangleEast London Socialist Party: Low pay and the winter strike wave

Hove:

triangleDeliveroo cedes ground in Brighton dispute

Wages:

triangleMassive protests against Lebanon's corrupt elite

Evictions:

triangleNo-fault evictions ban, but cuts leave tenants vulnerable

Public transport:

triangleUnions must fight to make bus drivers and passengers safe

Poverty:

triangleKnife and gun crime a product of poverty and austerity

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