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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 May 2015

11,000 families evicted in three months

Cut rents not benefits

March for Homes, London, 31st January 2015, photo Paul Mattsson

March for Homes, London, 31st January 2015, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Simon Carter

Eleven thousand families were thrown out of their accommodation in the first three months of 2015. This is a 51% increase compared to six years ago.

These evictions are due to excessive rents, coupled to low pay and to government benefit cuts.

Around half of those affected lived in London where the average monthly rent for a two-bedroom home is 2,216.

Yet the government response to this housing crisis is to make matters even worse. It will further cap welfare payments and end the limited housing benefit currently available to under-21s claiming Jobseeker's Allowance.

The only group of people profiting from this misery is private landlords, who can charge tenants what they like due to the absence of rent controls. These 'winners' also get a public subsidy, amounting to over 1,000 per household each year, by pocketing housing benefit and getting generous tax concessions.

This shouldn't come as any surprise as, at the time of the general election, one-in-four MPs, including Labour MPs, were also private landlords.

Unaffordable

It's become nigh-on impossible for families earning average wages to buy a home. According to the homeless charity Shelter, 80% of homes nationally are unaffordable to the average income family, with only 43 properties deemed genuinely affordable in London. Meanwhile, housebuilding has slumped to its lowest levels since the 1920s.

But if it's impossible to buy and increasingly impossible to rent in the private sector, what is the alternative?

Council houses are becoming rarer than rhinos as local authorities continue to sell off housing stock under the government's heavily subsidised 'right to buy' policy. These homes are not replaced with housing that charges 'social' rents, ie 50% of market rents.

Now, the government also wants to extend this sell-off to 1.3 million housing association homes.

Having a roof over your head should be a fundamental human right. But this government of millionaires only represents the money-making interests of the country's super-rich.

We need to kick out this anti-working class government and fight for one with socialist policies. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition stood in the elections to put that alternative. These policies must include:

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 20 May 2015:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Cut rents not benefits

Fight back at the Tory war on youth

Stop the "elites fortifying their power"

Build a movement to defeat the government's savagery

Labour leadership contest - appealing to big business

Fight Tories' new 'anti-extremism' law

State and big business spied on activists

Ukip provocateur unmasked

Them & Us


Socialist Party workplace news

Support the National Rail walkout over pay and jobs

FBU debates how to combat Tory onslaught

All-out pay strike forces Labour council back to table

ITV production staff

Workplace news in brief


International socialist news and analysis

US: Bernie Sanders calls for 'political revolution'


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Election aftermath: anti-Tory austerity protests

Cheapskate council screws up election ballot!

Build up resources to fight the Tories

Management thrashed in academies debate

Campaign news in brief


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Russell Brand's 'The Emperor's New Clothes'

Save our 'life saver' libraries!

Tories rig exams to favour rich students


 

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Rents:

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Benefits:

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Homes:

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Evictions:

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