The housing and planning bill currently before parliament will make the housing crisis worse. It sets out to reduce the number of genuinely affordable homes, and encourage even more property speculation. Extending right to buy to housing association tenants will be paid for by selling off “high value” council homes on the open market, with no guarantee that homes sold will be replaced.
Council and housing association tenants with a family income over £30,000 (£40,000 in London) will be pushed to pay market rents, driving many from their homes and destroying mixed communities.
On new sites, developers can increase profits by providing publicly subsidised “starter homes” for a few instead of homes for rent. Travellers will have even less chance of a site or mooring; waiting lists will get longer. The bill has nothing but token words to help millions suffering the unaffordable rents, constant threat of eviction and substandard conditions of private renting.
The UK desperately needs a national housing strategy based on investment for need, not greed. There are thousands of acres of publicly owned land that can be used to build a new generation of energy-efficient council homes, cutting rents, and creating job and training opportunities.
We call on MPs, local councils and housing associations to link with tenants and trade unions in a growing alliance of opposition to this bill, join local protests on 5 December and demand instead the homes we need.
Eileen Short Defend Council Housing
Betsy Dilner Generation Rent
John McDonnell MP Shadow chancellor
Caroline Lucas MP
Tyger Benbow-Jones Chair, Welsh Tenants Federation
Sandra Ogden and Roderick Morgan Leeds Tenants Federation
Mary Jacques RotherFed
John Townend Barnsley Federation
Maxine Edwards Kirklees Federation
Jimmy Devlin North West Tenants and Residents Assembly
Marcus Trower National Bargee Travellers Association
Debby Kennett London Gypsy and Traveller Unit
Jon Clempner Leader, Harlow Council
Lewis Herbert Leader, Cambridge City Council
Kevin Price Executive councillor for housing, Cambridge City Council
Christine Blower General secretary, National Union of Teachers
Dave Prentis General secretary, Unison
Paul Kenny General secretary, GMB
Gail Cartmail Assistant general secretary, Unite
Phil Sedler Chair, Tower Hamlets Tenants Federation
John Marais Tenant rep Cambridge
John Gray Newham councillor, Unison national executive
Paul Kershaw Chair, Unite LE1111 housing branch
Liz Brennan Cambridge Unison
Jim Board Doncaster Unison
Hat tip picture to Shelter emergency Christmas appeal