Monday, October 31, 2011

Secure affordable homes for all: A policy for the next Government

This picture is from the Newham Compass meeting held last week at East Thames Housing Association headquarters in Stratford, E15 on the key issue of "affordable housing".

East Thames Housing Association Chief Executive Officer, June Barnes, (right) spoke first and set the scene about the horrendous housing shortage. She thinks that the new affordable rent model may well result in 170,000 new homes nationally but is risky to housing associations and a "one-off" that cannot be repeated. 

Next (on the left) is the Chair of Carpenters Estate Tenant Management Organisation (TMO), Eddie Benn. Eddie talked about the history of the TMO and what they had achieved as a resident led organisation and the future difficulties they face.
Finally, Labour London Assembly member Nicky Gavron (middle of picture) talked about the failure of Tory Mayor Johnson to deliver on his housing promises and the threat to hundreds of thousands of  Londoners by savage  cuts in grants, allowances, benefits and security of tenure. The vulnerable and the working poor will be "cleansed" out of most of London. 

I enjoyed this event but will agree with the remarks of one of those who also attended "...Speakers were excellent although I did leave feeling dispirited listening to able people applying their ingenuity to squeezing the best policies they could from the current situation while knowing all the time they would be woefully inadequate".

The meeting was chaired by Newham Compass, Christopher Owens (rear of picture).  The next event possibly will to invite one of the authors of "The Spirit Level". 


Robert said...

I was once part of a team for a charity, who wrote to Prescott about the housing mess of New labour, we thought council homes needed a program of rebuilding and modernization, in my area 150 council houses had been boarded up and left empty because the council did not wish to spend on average £17,000. Prescott wrote back saying it would cost this government £21 billion to upgrade homes, what government would spend that type of money on housing or anything else, it's not going to happen. I met Prescott a few years later and he said the days of cheap housing was over and no government could house everyone.

He was right of course New labour would never spend that type of money on anything, except nukes and bankers.

John Gray said...

Hi Robert

Welcome back.

It's time to move on just a little bit I think. We're talking about the next government, not the present and not the last. I think that some people have still not "got it" that Labour lost the last election and are not in power anymore.

I thought that the Party was wrong over a number of things but compared to this present lot....millions of our people are suffering and going to suffer even more.

Capital spending on housing has been practically abolished, as has security of tenure, affordable rents and the hundreds of thousands who will forced to move or be evicted following cuts in housing benefit - never mind sky high unemployment, legal aid cuts and regressive taxes.

There is no alternative to the Labour Party and instead of remaining in their "betrayal politics" comfort zone some folk who ought to know better (not the ultras of course who we don't want anything to do with) should just get on with it, stop whining and get stuck in and work within the Party for change.

You also in my view cannot moan and complain about the current or future Party policy if you are not prepared to roll up your selves and get stuck in.