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From: The Socialist issue 993, 2 May 2018: May and Tories must go

Search site for keywords: Young people - TUSC - Workers - Rents - London - Homes - Housing - Council - Councillors - Lewisham - South London - Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Young people trapped in private rental

Housing costs force workers out of London

Vote TUSC to cap rents and build council homes

Rent control now! photo Paul Mattsson

Rent control now! photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Ellen Kenyon Peers, TUSC local election candidate, Lewisham

It's a tough time to be a young person in Britain. Almost two-fifths of Millennials, young people born by 2000, rent privately at 30.

That's double the rate of 'Generation X', born between 1966 and 1980. It's quadruple the rate of the 'Baby Boomer' generation, according to the Intergenerational Commission led by the Resolution Foundation. Even these older generations face rising rents and mortgage costs, and attacks on social and council homes.

In Newham, east London, the average worker spends 60% of pay on rent, according to general union GMB. That's 157 days' pay a year going to the landlord. For those on poverty pay, the figure is much higher.

Businesses in the capital are reporting that worker retention is a problem. Two-thirds of leading firms say they struggle to recruit at entry level due to housing costs, according to a Confederation of British Industry survey.

28% said staff had left because of the crisis. Many workers can no longer afford both their rent and commute.

Expectations

The capitalist establishment has tried to focus on driving down expectations rather than building much-needed council housing.

Patrik Schumacher is a top architect who in 2016 called for the abolition of social housing and privatisation of all public space. In a recent report for the ultra-Thatcherite Adam Smith Institute, he states young professionals need only "hotel room-sized" flats!

Of course. Britain's housing crisis is because too many people have 'luxuries' like living rooms and kitchens!

With housing high in voters' minds in the local elections, the Tories have been touting May's pledge to start what disgraced former deputy Damian Green called a "rebirth of council house building."

But a Guardian investigation was able to show almost one in ten councillors in London - Tory and Labour - either work for property businesses or have received gifts or hospitality from them. The real figure is likely higher still.

How can we solve the housing crisis when the people in charge of planning homes are in the pockets of the developers?

We need anti-cuts, anti-privatisation councillors who will fight for mass council house building, rent caps, and more rights for tenants. Councillors who can't be bought by property moguls. When the government says "cut," Tory and Blairite councillors say "how much?"

In Lewisham, south London, I am standing for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC). That's the anti-austerity electoral alliance including transport union RMT and the Socialist Party.

Lewisham's cuts since 2010 total 153 million. But it has tens of millions in unallocated reserves and huge borrowing powers. Vote TUSC to cap rents and build council homes now - and fight to win the money back from the Tories!

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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.

  • 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.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, 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.
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