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Campaign steps up on New Era estate
Brian Debus, Hackney Socialist Party
Hackney Socialist Party members have been campaigning on the New Era estate in Hoxton. The residents of the 90 flats on the estate (which is owned by Richard Benyon, the richest Tory MP) have had their rents increased by over £100 a month in the last year.
The residents' campaign has already received massive national publicity, but the local Labour council has done next to nothing to support the tenants. We call for the council to introduce rent controls to stop this blatant profiteering.
The tenants are planning mass petitioning in Hoxton Market and in the local park over the August bank holiday weekend.
In our first 90 minutes knocking on doors to talk to people on the estate, two of us sold 30 copies of the Socialist.
- The cost of an average house in the UK (£250,000) is ten times bigger than the average salary, rising to 14 times bigger in London
- House prices per square metre have risen by 13% since 2009, going up by 34% in Greater London (61% in Lambeth, south London)
- While profits may be increasing, output in the building sector is 11.3% below its pre-crisis peak. Last year only 109,370 new homes were built in England, when 240,000 new homes a year are needed in order to meet demand.
- Tesco is sitting on enough spare land to build 15,000 new homes - a massive 4.6 million square metres
- Rents take up an average of 50% of disposable income, a trend that is only likely to worsen.
- The number of people who work but have to claim housing benefit has risen by 104% since 2009.
- £24 billion pounds of taxpayers' money a year goes on housing benefit - most of which is going in the pockets of private landlords.
- The government has cut £7 billion into housing benefit and made draconian cuts in council tax benefit adversely affecting low income families.
- There has been a 26% rise in homelessness in England over the last four years, meaning 112,070 people lack proper shelter. The number of rough sleepers in London alone rose by 75% in the same period to reach 6,437.
A socialist programme of action
■ Tackle the housing crisis by mass building of council houses
■ Cap all rents in the private sector at council rent level
■ Scrap the bedroom tax
■ For a £10 an hour minimum wage for all
■ Nationalise the house-building companies
■ Fight for a socialist society based on the needs of the overwhelming majority of people
In The Socialist 20 August 2014:
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