Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1058/29645
Labour's mass social housing pledge
Jeremy Corbyn used his Labour conference speech to repeat his call for "the largest council housebuilding programme in a generation". Conference unanimously passed a resolution calling for building 155,000 social rented homes a year, including 100,000 council homes.
This marked an important move to the left which could have mass appeal if it is followed through.
In last week's issue of the Socialist (see 'Standing up for the needs of working-class people' at socialistparty.org.uk), Labour councillor Tolga Aramaz explained the campaign to get Enfield Council to pledge 100% council housing on its 10,000-home Meridian Water development instead of largely unaffordable homes as planned.
This would offer hope to those in overcrowded council homes and the 4,500 families on the waiting list. Labour councils should take the opportunity this policy gives them.
It is not automatic that this resolution will find its way into the next manifesto. Labour's Blairite housing shadow ministers are reported as making comments about the difficulties of carrying out the policy. There is no doubt that the mass of delegates supported Jeremy Corbyn as representing fundamental change, but many MPs and shadow ministers are pursuing a pro-capitalist agenda. The fight to transform Labour into a real political voice of the working class continues.
Campaigners fighting the commercialisation of housing associations will also note that conference supported a call for local authorities to be given "powers and resources to take housing associations under direct council control."
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Coronavirus crisis - 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.
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In The Socialist 2 October 2019:
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