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Join in the Austerity Games!
Poverty and homelessness to skyrocket
Suzanne Beishon, London Youth Fight for Jobs
This summer London will play host to the costly Olympic Games. While many look forward to a 'summer of sport', in its shadow, workers and young people in London and around the country face, not just months of disruption and misery that go with the £24 billion games, but poverty and homelessness as the cuts bite.
Housing in London stands on the brink of a crisis. With more cuts to housing benefit due to come in next April, a new government-commissioned study has shown that 40% of London landlords plan to stop renting to housing benefit tenants in the next year, dwarfing the already high 33% nationally.
More benefit cuts
Tens of thousands of working and poor families face being forced out of their homes as a result of the changes. The increasing lack of affordable properties only promises to exacerbate the problem and force people onto the streets or into insecure, temporary accommodation.
The government argues that the changes will stop families from claiming hundreds of thousands of pounds for large properties in expensive areas at the expense of the taxpayer and that landlords will be forced to lower rents.
The reality is that greedy rip-off landlords, who are the real beneficiaries of housing benefit, will not lower rents. In fact, 37% of landlords in London have said they are more likely to evict tenants or not renew tenancy agreements, three times higher than the 11% that said they would consider lowering rents.
The reality is that over the last year there has been a 61% rise in the number of households with children living in bed-and-breakfast accommodation and homelessness has seen increases of 14% nationally and 36% in London, with children increasingly at risk.
We refuse to accept the government's scaremongering attacks on so-called benefit scroungers to justify the return of Dickensian poverty stricken conditions.
While the real scroungers - the tax-avoiding super-rich - splash out on the luxury services on offer around the Olympic games (for between £295 and £4,500 per person you can get a champagne reception and four course dinner with your Olympic ticket) Youth Fight for Jobs will be organising to show workers and young people that, in the seventh richest country in the world, we can, and should, be afforded the right to a decent home and a decent future.
That is why young people and trade unionists from across the country will be sending teams to Hackney Marshes to compete in the Austerity Games on Monday 23 July - the week before the Olympics. We will be launching the Youth Fight for Jobs Manifesto: A Future for the 99%, which lays out the problems faced by young people in Britain today and a strategy of how to get organised and fight for a decent future.
We will be putting competitors through their paces with ten athletics events from the Race to the Bottom to the Deficit Discus and Property High Jump to highlight the plight of workers and young people, lost underneath these expensive and corporate Olympic Games.
To get involved in Youth Fight for Jobs or the Austerity Games email [email protected]
In The Socialist 20 June 2012:
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