Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1021/28388
The Socialist 5 December 2018 |
Join the Socialist
| Audio | PDF | ebook
Arrogant landlords can be beaten
Marching against the housing crisis, photo Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)
Paul Kershaw, chair, Unite union housing workers' branch
Housing association bosses gave Theresa May a standing ovation after a speech on housing policy - you wouldn't find an audience of housing workers or tenants do that.
Catalyst Housing boss toldLondon Assembly (LA) members that his organisation had derecognised unions in order to listen to its staff better! The LA housing committee vice-chair said they wouldn't accept that from a private employer let alone one that gets public funding.
And housing bosses said that they hadn't followed the information commissioner's request that they proactively share fire-risk assessments with residents because they wouldn't understand them!
Housing association tenants and workers increasingly see these landlords as narrowly profit-focussed and are getting organised through the Social Housing Action Campaign (Shac).
While pressure has forced retreats, the deregulation of housing associations remains.
Associations can now convert social-rented homes to more expensive tenures without consent from the housing regulator.
More than 100,000 social-rent homes were lost in this way from 2011-12 to 2016-17. The rate of these homes being lost has declined somewhat following pressure. But 5,344 were still lost in 2017-18.
Housing Association rents have risen by £60 a week since 2002 - faster than wages - and the impact of Universal Credit is making things even worse.
Jeremy Corbyn has called for a return to the level of council-house building last seen in the 1970s. He needs to link that to calls for mass action to get the Tories out so he can implement this demand.
It must also be translated into specific commitments to fully fund a mass programme of council-house building and Housing Association residents must be given a real say.