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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.

Threat

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.

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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

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What we saw


International socialist news and analysis

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Turkey: Erdogan's victory based on fear and intimidation

International news in brief


Socialist Party features

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Where did the unions' money go?


Workplace news and analysis

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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


 

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