Socialist Party
| Print

3 January 2018

Thousands live in tents and sheds - seize the 60,000 empty homes

James Ivens

Over 60,000 homes in England and Wales have been vacant for more than two years. At the same time, 9,100 people live in tents. And in London alone around 9,000 'beds in sheds' fill secret slums.

How much longer do we have to watch the market fail to sort this out? The properties are there! Just take them!

Even the Liberal Democrats, Britain's second-best Tory tribute act, think it's an idea. It's their research which turned up the empty digs through council Freedom of Information requests.

In five years, only 19 of those councils - less than 8% - say they've taken any of these places over.

They all have the power. After six months they can issue 'empty dwelling management orders' for them. 11,000 have been empty over a decade.

And so the desperate homeless found makeshift cities of tents. Their population is booming. The 9,100 people living there represent a 56% growth between 2011 and 2016, according to Crisis.

The homelessness charity projects 11,000 in tents by 2020. Why?

Rents are up, benefits down. Tenancies are insecure and so is employment. But even families in stable work are now at risk of homelessness, according to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.

Losing a tenancy is the growing cause: behind 31% of homelessness in England, says Crisis. It was at 11% when the Tories came to power.

'Beds in sheds'

And it's the Tories themselves who identified 6,000 hidden 'beds in sheds' across two-thirds of London's boroughs - the majority Labour. They estimate the total number to be 9,000.

But is their real concern for the poor people living in sheds? They couldn't resist linking it to lost council tax receipts, undocumented migration - and benefit fraud.

Of course, getting benefits at all is near impossible thanks to the Tories. Their 'universal credit' system is a disaster. The diminishing amount and extravagant lateness of payments mean four out of five landlords refuse to take claimants, says the National Landlords Association.

The Tories, Blairites and Liberals have made homelessness normal.

Nottingham is trialling a special vending machine for the homeless dispensing snack food and hygiene products. Keycards allow users three items a day.

Enough! Take those empty homes and put them to use. And build council houses now. Nationalise the land and construction companies - the market won't do it.

After Grenfell Jeremy Corbyn was right to call on the council to seize empty properties for survivors. That still needs to happen. But now he should make the call across the country.




http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/26642




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

LATEST POSTS

triangle19 Feb Usdaw victory - Socialist Party member Amy Murphy wins presidential...

triangle19 Feb Building the campaign against clearances of the working class

triangle16 Feb No fudge with the right wing

triangle14 Feb Czechoslovakia 1968: 'Prague Spring' challenges Stalinism

triangle14 Feb Uni strike: coordinate public sector fightback

triangle14 Feb Oxfam scandal: we need democratic aid and working class solidarity

triangle14 Feb Haringey protests HDV - but Labour fails to kill it off completely

More ...

WHAT'S ON

triangle20 Feb Manchester Socialist Students: 200 years of Marxism

triangle21 Feb Caerphilly & RCT Socialist Party: 100 years of votes for women

triangle21 Feb Salford Socialist Party: A socialist look at the Vietnam War

triangle21 Feb York Socialist Party: Britain in 2018

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

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

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

What we Stand For

About the Socialist Party

Our 2015 election manifesto

Joining the Socialist Party - what will it mean for you

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999