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Con-Dems escalate housing crisis
James Kerr, TUSC candidate for Telegraph Hill ward, Lewisham
'I don't know how I'm going to be able to afford to live in London'. This phrase, is being heard across the capital as workers, especially the younger generations, struggle to cope with sky-high rents, out-of-reach house prices and a shortage of social housing.
Is it any wonder when the Rightmove property website reported asking prices for some properties in Brent had risen by as much as 7.3% in a single month?
And to top this, last week, a garage in Camberwell next to an industrial estate - with 'development opportunities', according to Southwark council - sold for an eye-watering £550,000!
These prices are mirrored in the rental market with more workers being forced further out of Inner London as landlords cash in and the super-rich flood the housing market with cash.
As this crisis develops we ask - 'what is the solution?' The Con-Dem government's 'help-to-buy' scheme was hailed on its launch a year ago but is a drop in the ocean when it comes to housing need. Moreover, this programme is actually fuelling the housing price bubble.
Tory London Mayor Boris Johnson's 'First Steps' website advertises shared ownership for those on 'low and modest incomes'. From a sample of 75 homes only four would be affordable to a London firefighter, showing how many skilled workers are priced out of even the so-called affordable housing options.
A mass programme of council house building is required to deal with the root of the problem, but will the main parties deliver the goods?
In my borough of Lewisham there are over 17,700 people on the waiting list for social housing. The Labour-run council proposes to build a mere 500 council homes over the next four years, not even scratching the surface of the problem.
Contrast that to TUSC candidate for Mayor of Lewisham, and former Socialist Party councillor in Telegraph Hill, Chris Flood. His proposal is to build 18,000 homes; launching a mass campaign in Lewisham to demand the money necessary from central government, and creating jobs for the unemployed.
Chris is also raising the call for rent controls and a register of landlords to make Lewisham an affordable place to live, not a cash cow for rip-off landlords and lettings agents.
Up and down the country the issue of housing is being discussed on the doorsteps but only TUSC is providing a fighting political solution.
If you want to fight for decent homes why not support TUSC by voting, getting involved and standing as a no-cuts candidate?
In The Socialist 16 April 2014:
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