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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 July 2021

We need councillors who will end housing crisis - vote TUSC in Staines on 22 July

Paul Couchman campaigning, photo Nick Chaffey

Paul Couchman campaigning, photo Nick Chaffey   (Click to enlarge)

Paul Couchman, TUSC candidate in Staines ward

I am standing for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) in the Staines ward by-election for Spelthorne Council.

Spelthorne has over 2,500 families on its housing waiting list. Many of these are living in poor, cramped and unfit conditions, desperately waiting - often for years - for the offer of a space to call home.

A report by Get Surrey showed that a family would need combined earnings of well over £100,000 a year to get a mortgage on the average house in the borough. How many local residents earn anywhere near that amount?

There is a whole generation of young families in Spelthorne who cannot afford to live here. Only 300 new homes have been built each year since 2016, and very few of these have been 'affordable' - 12.3% in 2016, 3.1% in 2017, and only 1.9% in 2018.

And what do they mean by 'affordable'? The government's definition is no more than 80% of the average local market rent.

The council is talking about its 'Spelthorne Plan' - which consists of a few high-rise blocks of more posh apartments. The Greens are actually demanding that the council builds fewer homes, after they did a deal with the Lib Dems on the council. The 'Independents' (ex-Tory and ex-Ukip) are just complaining about the skyline - ie 'not in my backyard'.

No one on the council, apart from two independent Labour councillors, is talking about what is really needed - a mass programme of publicly owned council house building, and a cap on the rents charged by private landlords.

When I was growing up, we always had somewhere safe and secure to live - a council house. They weren't always well maintained by local councils, but mostly lovingly looked after by residents.

These were the first steps into independence for most young families. These have nearly all now been sold or turned over to housing associations - in Spelthorne to A2 Dominion.

Spelthorne Council has the power and the resources to build hundreds of good-quality, environmentally sustainable, carbon-neutral, family homes. The work should be done in-house with quality controls, taking on local builders and apprentices on trade union terms and rates of pay.

There are masses of brownfield sites and ex-office blocks which could be turned over to council housing. The Socialist Party says that it's only the political will of the current councillors that is missing. We need the voice of the working class to be heard in the council chamber.

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In The Socialist 14 July 2021:


NHS

NHS: Kick out the privatisers - Fight for a 15% Pay rise

Scrap the privatising health and care bill

Tories threaten to axe free prescriptions for older workers


Covid

We cannot trust this government over Covid: Fight for a new workers' party

Trade unions must continue the fight for Covid safety


LGBTQ+

Pride is protest - Build a mass movement for LGBTQ+ liberation and socialism

LGBTQ+ workers' charter


Workplace news

Dagenham school workers strike against 'fire and rehire' pay cuts

St Mungo's strikers end 12-week strike

Telecoms workers angry at CWU deal with BT

GKN Birmingham workers rally against plant closure

Brush workers into eighth week of strike

Workplace round-up


International

New wave of radicalisation in Latin America

Putting the Olympic gravy train ahead of public health

Kazakhstan: Solidarity with protesters attacked by regime forces


News

Keep the Universal Credit uplift

Defend the triple lock - Fight to end poverty pensions

Wealth chasm widens

Right-wing study concludes youth like socialism


Campaigns

Youth Fight for Jobs is back

We need councillors who will end housing crisis - vote TUSC in Staines on 22 July

Stop Pimlico gentrification

Why I joined the Socialist Party

Everyone can spot Socialist Party in Stoke

Socialist Party meetings say: We're ready to go out and campaign


Readers' opinion

England football team

Farewell Leicester Square - the story of Britain's first black bus driver

Readers' comments


 

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Related links:

TUSC:

triangleEaling by-election: Labour council has not opposed Tory cuts

triangleTower Hamlets Labour backs Tory cuts

triangleTUSC calls for local 'People's Budget' campaigns

triangleEnfield byelection: We need councillors prepared to resist

triangleWaltham Forest byelections: Council homes not unaffordable flats

Staines:

triangleSocialism on the rise

triangleHelp fund the fightback: sponsor my marathon

triangleStaines fire services saved

triangleSurrey FBU pass no confidence motion

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triangleAfghanistan disaster - Unite to fight for funding for refugees and local communities

triangleFighting for a home for Nadia and homes for all

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Councillors:

triangleTV review - Grenfell: The Untold Story

triangleLiverpool: Stop the arms fair!

Council:

triangleCarmarthenshire Unison: 'Recognise our union!'

Spelthorne:

triangleTruth about Zane: Cover-up Tories crack

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