|Housing provision must meet need!|
|Magazine - News & Views|
|Sunday, 03 June 2012 10:49|
Only radical action can start to address the housing crisis escalated by the Con-Dem Government says Peter Gilman, Islington South CLP.
Since the Tories got back into office we have had record unemployment, especially youth unemployment, record increases in the price of food, gas, electricity and fares – and now the price of stamps is going up to subsidise the privatisation of the Post Office. We have had savage cuts in local authority funding, and Tory plans for health will bring about the destruction of the NHS.
In the Budget, the Tories gave millions in tax concessions to millionaires and Britain’s richest 1% – and paid for it by robbing Britain’s pensioners with the granny tax. As fuel prices rise, the Government has cut pensioners’ heating allowance by 20%.
The Tories want to increase rents to 80% of market levels for council and housing association tenants. In inner London this would mean rents increasing to £350-£400 a week. Iain Duncan Smith’s claim that the Tory housing policy will reduce private sector rents flies in the face of all reality – and the experience of private sector tenants whose rents are soaring. The Tory plans are a recipe for a massive increase in homelessness and, combined with cuts in housing benefit – have led to the beginning of “social cleansing” of working class people from inner London.
We must never forget that none of this would be possible without the Lib Dems’ steadfast support for the Tories, but it is not enough to condemn the Tories and their Lib Dem poodles. We need positive policies from Labour, and nowhere is this more urgent than in housing. Unfortunately this is one issue on which any vision from Labour’s front bench is sadly lacking.
To deal with the current crisis we need a socialist housing programme that includes the following key points;