Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/877/21673
From The Socialist newspaper, 4 November 2015
Tory bid to turn co-op tenants against one another in latest attack on housing
Niall Mulholland, Newham Longlife Housing Cooperative management committee (personal capacity)
The government's Housing and Planning Bill is the greatest ever threat to the UK's 836 housing cooperatives and their 196,000 homes.
The Tories' profit-driven ideology is at loggerheads with the collective ethos of cooperative and mutual housing organisations. These own or manage homes, normally with some form of members' democratic control.
As with housing associations, the bill will impose 'pay to stay' on housing co-ops. This forces 'higher-income' tenants to pay market rent. As rents skyrocket, evictions will rise. Co-ops resisting this policy will face fines.
The bill also reverses agreed annual increases in social tenants' rent without replacing the income. Co-ops will be ever more reliant on income from pay-to-stay tenants. This can pit co-op members against one another.
As things stand, Thatcher's notorious 'right to buy' policy will not extend to co-ops. The bill does not repeal existing exemptions.
But most housing campaigners expect the Tories will return to impose right to buy. They could use the pretext of 'demand' from co-op tenants hit by pay to stay. It is, however, estimated that most of these tenants in London, and some other areas, could not afford even subsidised mortgages.
Faced with their gravest ever threat, housing co-ops are discussing how to avoid the bill's effects.
Tactics include deregistering from the government's housing regulator in order to exempt themselves from the bill. Even if successful, this would probably only delay Tory attacks.
To safeguard cooperative and mutual housing, tenants need to link up with other social housing campaigns and housing workers' unions. A mass movement could stop the bill in its tracks, and fight for fully funded, quality social housing and mass council house building.
Donate to the Socialist Party
Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal
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.
- The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
- Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
- When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.
In The Socialist 4 November 2015:
Socialist Party news and analysis
£10 an hour now!
Unions must capitalise on mass anger at austerity and anti-union laws
The 'tampon tax' is a tax on being a woman
Long hours ruining health without lifting productivity
Transgender woman locked up in male prison
Tory bid to turn co-op tenants against one another
Them & Us
What we saw
International socialist news and analysis
US: #blacklivesmatter movement challenges racism
Turkey: Erdogan's victory based on fear and intimidation
International news in brief
Socialist Party features
The Socialist: A fighting antidote to the mainstream media's lies
The socialist case for nationalisation of the steel industry
Struggle for solidarity with refugees must be anti-austerity
Where did the unions' money go?
Workplace news and analysis
Strike together to Kill the Bill
Determined DLR strikers to "fight all the way"
Unison general secretary election - vote Roger Bannister
London Underground rep targeted for trade union activity
Fire service cuts put people at risk
Solidarity action for victimised Unison rep
Workplace news in brief
Socialist Party comments and reviews
Wrong: Owen Jones tells Labour "abandon anti-austerity"
Cycle cheat Armstrong's hypocrisy and bullying
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
The Socialist campaign: buy it, sell it - read it, write it
Socialist Party joins campaign against NHS bullying
Super Southampton fighting fund campaign
The Socialist 4 November 2015 |
Join the Socialist
| Audio | PDF | ebook