Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 2 September 2020

Manctopia: billion pound property boom


Manctopia   (Click to enlarge)

Reviewed by Chris Newby

Manctopia is a four-part documentary about housing in Manchester, filmed over the course of one year. It is very powerful viewing. It even mentions Marx, Engels and the Communist Manifesto in describing some of the historical development of Manchester.

As the title makes plain, Manctopia shows the huge profits being made by property developers in the city centre.

It also shows the rottenness of the housing situation in Britain today. It ranges from showing the multi-millionaire property developer who stands to make 12 million profit from redeveloping part of the Piccadilly area in Manchester city centre, to Christina - a single mother of two who, despite paying her rent on time every month for five years, is evicted, made homeless, and is forced to move in with her mother.

While huge profits are made by property developers, local people are being forced out of homes they have lived in for most of their lives because they can't afford the spiralling rents, or because their estates are being redeveloped and their homes are being knocked down.

Property prices in Manchester have increased by 50% in the last five years. At the time of making the documentary in 2019 there were 5,000 homeless in Greater Manchester and 95,000 on the waiting list for genuinely affordable housing.

Homeless charities too are being forced out. One charity highlighted, which provides hot breakfasts, a food bank, and somewhere to get a hot shower for the homeless, is forced out of premises near the city centre that it has been in for 30 years because of property development.

The charity workers turn up one morning to find the locks changed so they have to serve the breakfasts out of the back of cars. Eventually the charity finds some premises to work out of, but they are several miles away from the city centre where most of the homeless sleep.

The programme also shows up the abysmal role that Greater Manchester Labour Mayor Andy Burnham is playing in dealing with the city's housing crisis. Rather than launch a campaign to demand more funding from central government for council housing, he is instead relying on charity fundraising events to support housing charities across the city.

The person he gets to run these events is the very property developer making millions out of the redevelopment of Manchester! As one of the charity workers present at one of these events says, "you can't help but laugh" that this property developer has been put in charge of this fundraising.

One of the drawbacks in the episodes that I watched is that there is no discussion on council-house building. This is not surprising given that Labour councils have no plans to build desperately needed council housing, and are also making the situation even worse by carrying out cuts to council services and jobs with barely a whimper.

The fact that there is not this generalised call for council-house building is probably behind the mixed comments that Anne, a resident living in Collyhurst, makes. On the one hand she is pleased that the area of Ancoats has been redeveloped, but is understandably appalled at the thought of being forced out of her own home to make way for new homes, because the developers are tearing down perfectly good housing.

As Christina says: "What doesn't help, of course, is that social housing for families isn't a priority, and isn't helped by the fact that the 'Right to Buy' scheme didn't lead to new council houses being built. Something has to be done."

This series is well worth watching for showing the massive problems in housing in Britain, but you will have to look to the Socialist if you want to find a strategy to really solve this housing crisis.

Donate to the Socialist Party

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 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.
  • 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.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 2 September 2020:


Tory schools chaos - unions must fight for safety

Eviction ban extension not enough: make it longer, forgive the arrears!

Don't blame asylum seekers for Tory cuts

News in brief

Disability and Covid

Capitalism cause of disproportionate disabled deaths and isolation

No going back series

Welfare after Covid-19

Workplace news

Demand a fightback from the TUC and unions

Tate strike: "Coronavirus - no reason to fire us!"

B&Q worker reinstated: Organised response successfully challenges unfair dismissal

West Midlands journalists strike against pay and job cuts

Support Ikea workers - reinstate Richie Venton

London bus drivers poised for strike action

Join the socialists

Socialism on the rise


Fight racism, Trump and capitalism

Mass protests in Israel demand Netanyahu's resignation

Trotsky online rally - watched across the world


No Covid penalty on our future

Black Lives Matter: Fighting injustice, fighting for our rights

Nottingham: Socialists and anti-racists oppose right-wing march

No to polluting incinerator, dumped in working-class Edmonton

Scrap hospital parking charges

Liverpool: Support 15% pay rise for NHS

Lincoln: Save Drill Hall

Fundraising: An example to follow


TV: Once Upon a Time in Iraq

Manctopia: billion pound property boom


Home   |   The Socialist 2 September 2020   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleSouth West London Socialist Party: After the protests, what way forward for Cuba?

trianglePandora property speculators fuel housing crisis

triangleLondon tenants v greedy contractors

triangleFighting evictions in Cornwall

triangleEaling by-election: Labour council has not opposed Tory cuts


triangleManchester & Salford Socialist Party: The Grenfell disaster

triangleManchester death rate caused by deprivation

triangleGo Ahead offers deal to Manchester bus drivers

triangleWith public campaigning back in full swing - now is the time to raise fighting fund


triangleMarch to save Stratford arts jobs from Newham Labour attacks

triangleHackney: Stop closure of children's centres

triangleOaks Park pickets vote for more strikes to defeat bullies


triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: House the homeless - take over the empty homes

trianglePandemic homeless

Greater Manchester:

triangleWorking-class based campaign needed


triangleRidley Road: An engaging story of fighting fascism

Andy Burnham:

triangleHealth before profit - Work or full pay

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments



Newcastle United takeover - no to billionaire Ashley or Saudi despots



Ridley Road: An engaging story of fighting fascism



Readers' comments



Obituary - Dave Hardaker, 1952-2021



Caffeine and capitalism - a symbiotic relationship



TV Review - Help: Heart-wrenching portrayal of Covid care home crisis



Gleision mine deaths: Still fighting for justice



Corbyn had a social care plan



Nuclear Folly: A New History of the Cuban Missile Crisis



Obituary: Roger Henshaw, comrade and class fighter



The street I live on


Climate change

Socialist change, not climate change



Vigil: A nuclear sub murder mystery


Socialist Party

Why I joined the Socialist Party



Film Review: Martin Eden

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: inf[email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 077 7221 5281

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793



Alphabetical listing

October 2021

September 2021

August 2021

July 2021

June 2021

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021