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From The Socialist newspaper, 31 October 2018

Homelessness, Universal Credit misery, high rents, cramped flats, isolated estates...end the housing crisis now!

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

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

Connor Rosoman, Brighton Socialist Party

Housing in Britain is in crisis. Bailiffs were called to a house in Hove on 26 October after the tenant - struggling to get by on Universal Credit - fell into rent arrears. I joined a local tenants' union which held a picket outside the house to prevent the evictions.

Many tenants find themselves unable to live alone due to skyrocketing rent prices. Under new 'co-living' schemes in big cities, up to several hundred tenants are packed into massive apartment buildings with shared bathrooms, kitchens and other such facilities. Bedrooms are cramped, leaving people with little space to themselves.

The spread of small, overcrowded housing can have negative effects on physical and mental health, and such 'co-living' spaces are another step in this direction.

At the same time, many of those who can afford their own homes find themselves living on new housing developments built on the edges of towns without local facilities and with poor transport links.

This means many working-class families are forced to drive to reach, schools, doctors and shops. As a result of the increased traffic, families spend hours in the car just to reach essential services. Instead of these poorly designed neighbourhoods, we need quality, affordable housing and decent public transport.


Meanwhile some have nowhere to live at all. Homelessness has seen a dramatic increase, with an estimated 4,751 people sleeping on the streets last year. This is a 15% increase since 2016 alone.

But councils have tried to sweep the problem under the rug - forcing rough sleepers out of the cities by using Public Service Protection Orders (PSPOs). Many homeless people have been denied legal aid in challenging councils that have used PSPOs in an attempt to criminalise homelessness.

Universal Credit has driven many people into rent arrears and - alongside precarious contracts and poverty wages - thousands of people in work cannot afford a home. We need to fight back against low pay, benefit cuts, rent hikes and poor-quality housing.

The Socialist Party campaigns for rent controls and we raise the demand that local councils fight back by using their extensive reserves and borrowing powers to set no-cuts, needs-based budgets.

With the Tories having lifted restrictions on borrowing to fund council house building, there is absolutely no excuse for Labour councils not to act. They should begin a massive programme of council-house building to provide all people with high-quality, affordable places to live.

This means building a mass campaign and demanding the funding needed from the government. Jeremy Corbyn should pledge now that any council which took such a road would see its funds restored on day one of a Labour government.

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In The Socialist 31 October 2018:

What we think

Crisis Tory Budget brings no relief from austerity


Save Our Schools

Only a socialist alternative can end austerity

Homelessness, Universal Credit misery, high rents, cramped flats, isolated estates...end the housing crisis!

Philip Green scandal - bring him down like BHS

60% of wildlife wiped out - urgent action needed to save planet

Workplace news

Glasgow's equal pay uprising shows power of working class

CWU conference: Sharpen up our act? Yes. But weaken our democracy? No

Welsh college staff set to strike on pay and workload

UCU: General secretary censured but anti-union laws frustrate strike ballot

Driving London's buses - a laser in the eye and a boot up the bum!

PCS Left Unity election: ballot opens

National Gallery reps endorse Chris Baugh

Precarious workers march against gig economy

Peterloo massacre

Peterloo: "If the people were to rise and smite their enemies, was not this the time?" Samuel Bamford, demonstrator

International socialist news and analysis

Bolsonaro - a threat to workers and all oppressed people

Parliamentary coup in Sri Lanka

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Call to arms by Southampton council unions

Campaign building to save Scarborough and district hospitals

The Socialist sales successes in Leeds


'Lucas Plan' film tells story of workers who set out alternative to job losses

The Socialist inbox


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Public transport:

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