Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/841/20001
The Socialist 28 January 2015 |
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End the housing crisis
- Cap rents, not benefits
- A mass programme of council house building
Social housing not social cleansing, photo Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)
Nancy Taaffe, TUSC prospective parliamentary candidate for Walthamstow
Housing. A basic human need, one of the requirements for human life. Yet in London tonight, over 6,000 will sleep rough. More than 60,000 children will be in temporary accommodation. And the housing waiting list stands at in excess of 250,000 households.
Years of sell-offs, under-investment and welfare cuts have created a perfect storm, particularly for young people. We need to direct this storm to the door of the establishment which created the problem.
In the Labour years, the model used for housing was a form of 'Private Finance Initiative' (PFI). Lease deals forged an alliance of building firms, housing associations and public bodies such as schools, hospitals and libraries.
Public land was given to profit-making private interests in exchange for being allowed to rent back a slice of public space. It's privatisation by another name.
As well as causing well-documented spiralling costs, it stoked the fire of housing need. PFI further reduced housing stock already gutted by Thatcher's laws giving council tenants the "right to buy" their homes.
For 30 years, the Tories and New Labour told us that cheap credit would ensure the next generation a home.
In London, the average age that someone can buy their first house is 52!
In reality, it's all been engineered to stuff the bank accounts of all the main parties' rich mates. The international property fair "Mipim" is a point in case.
Every March, fat-cat property speculators booze and schmooze local authorities at a resort in France. Council leaders get a luxury holiday on us; international landlords get to snap up our London flats for 'redevelopment'.
The Socialist Party has always argued that the private housing model was a crime against the next generation. Many of the casualties of this crime will march on Saturday 31 January against London's housing crisis.
The march has been co-organised by the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC - see www.tusc.org.uk).
TUSC is aiming to stand 100 MP candidates this May against all cuts and privatisation. We are the only group calling for genuine rent controls, an end to housing sell-offs and a massive programme of council house building.
We are socialists and trade unionists who never bought into the lies of privatisation or austerity. And as Greece and Spain show, millions of workers across Europe agree with the ideas we put forward.
- Rent control now! Democratic rent councils to decide fair levels in each area
- Stop council house sell-offs
- Councils should use their compulsory purchase powers on long term empty properties and use them as council housing
- A new mass workers' party to fight for affordable housing for all. Stand working class candidates in May's general and local elections to fight for these policies
- Nationalise the banks and biggest corporations. For a democratic socialist society that puts the needs of the majority, including decent, affordable housing, before the profits of the tiny minority
London march for homes
Russell Brand leads protesters on the New Era estate demo outside Westbrook offices in Mayfair, photo Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)
Saturday 31 January
Assemble 12pm at Shoreditch Church (for east London) or St Mary's Churchyard, Elephant and Castle (for south London), and march to City Hall.