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From The Socialist newspaper, 1 December 2021

East London mass non-payment wins housing victory

Following a fire in 2019, residents in Barking have fought for safety Photo: Pete Mason

Following a fire in 2019, residents in Barking have fought for safety Photo: Pete Mason   (Click to enlarge)

Pete Mason, east London Socialist Party and chair of Barking Reach Residents' Association

The combative residents and residents' association on the Barking Riverside estate in East London have won another victory. A residents' service charge strike has forced home builders Bellway to pay in full for the remediation of flammable balconies, cladding, and missing and deformed cavity barriers on another 314 dwellings in the Caspian Quarter of the estate, something they previously refused to do.

The balconies alone will cost over £1 million to fix. That bill had been passed on to residents, causing untold distress and hardship. Residents were facing huge costs - service charge bills of up to £6,000 for two years.

Backed up by a campaigning residents' association, a majority of residents refused to pay the remediation part of the newly issued service charge bills. The multifaceted, well-organised campaign has brought together protests and other actions, building the confidence of residents.

Once the bills were overdue, it became apparent to the landlord, tax-haven based Adriatic Land, that they faced a determined, well-organised force. Within a few days, their partners in crime Bellway crumbled - suddenly announcing their about-turn.

To accompany the service charge strike, the residents' association has worked hard to apply political and legal pressure, raising hundreds of pounds for a legal challenge to Bellway, and lobbying councillors and MPs. Under pressure from the campaign, the council was forced to engage with Bellway, threatening to consider blocking them from any further developments in the borough.

Residents are planning well-earned celebrations for a hard-fought victory.

But residents should never have been put through the distress caused. The tax haven-based landlords have forfeited their right to ownership. The unsafe, profit-hungry top-ten homebuilders have forfeited their right to build. The democratic public ownership of land and the building industry, as part of a socialist plan, remain a necessity to solve the housing crisis.

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In The Socialist 1 December 2021:


News

NHS Critical

Covid-19: New variant emerges but same old capitalist disease

27 dead in channel migrant tragedy

Bulb bailed out, nationalise energy to solve price crisis

Khan threatens further London transport cuts

Kickstart scheme 'insufficient and flawed'

Tories strengthen repressive laws


COP26

After COP26: where next for the climate movement?


International

Argentine elections see deepening polarisation


Wales

Wales: The Labour-Plaid Cymru agreement - jam tomorrow, maybe


Rural life

Behind the rural idyll - the problems of everyday life


Workplace news

NHS workers - vote yes for action to win a decent pay rise

Staff and students unite against university bosses' attacks

UCU higher education disputes

Education unions lead campaign against Leicester academisation

RMT strikes against abolition of night tube train operators

South Yorkshire Stagecoach drivers strike against measly 1% pay offer

Nottingham and Mansfield trade unions rally against cuts and for better pay

Oaks Park school strike ends following forced concessions


Campaigns

East London mass non-payment wins housing victory

Marching to stop violence against women

Housing campaigners protest CEO champagners

Building a political alternative to Tory and Labour cuts

Stop the cuts to Uni arts funding

Plymouth: Hundreds attend vigil for Bobbi-Anne McLeod

Socialism 2021: How we reached our fighting fund appeal target

End fuel poverty


Readers' opinion

TV review: Valley of the Tears


 

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Related links:

Housing:

triangleStop eviction of Camden homeless collective

triangleSouthampton West Socialist Party: The crisis in housing

triangleEssex cuts racket must end

triangleEviction resistance on the march in Waltham Forest

triangleWaltham Forest: Campaign unites families facing eviction

London:

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: Crisis in the Ukraine

triangleLondon Socialist Party women's meeting

triangleNewham City Farm - closed with no consultation

triangleTube workers strike in defence of pay, pensions and conditions

East London:

triangleEast London Socialist Party: The East London Matchgirls' strike

triangleBarts NHS strike

triangleForce back Serco and Barts management!

Barking:

triangleHousing crisis: Tories and Labour are not on our side

triangleBarking NHS: "Sorry, please try again later"

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