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Demonstration against the Housing Bill, Lambeth, January 2016

Demonstration against the Housing Bill in Lambeth. Photo: Alastair Stephens

The Tories want to end social housing in this country, writes Cameron Panting

The Tories want to demolish a key pillar of the the welfare state. They are pushing a bill through parliament that would effectively end social housing in this country.

In doing this, they continue the work of their hero Margaret Thatcher, whose ‘Right To Buy’ policy, saw millions of council houses sold of and made a few very wealthy, but has meant insecurity for those who came after.

The bill’s provisions are designed to end social housing as we know it:

  • The bill will force councils to sell off homes without guarantee of replacement. Only 1 in 10 of those homes sold off since 2012 have been replaced;
  • The proceeds will be used to subsidize the sale of Housing Association homes at a discount;
  • Secure Tenancies for council and housing association tenants will be scrapped, replaced by fixed term tenancies for three to five years, after which tenants will have to re-apply;
  • ‘Pay to Stay’ will mean that those households earning more than £40,000 (e.g. two people each earning just £20k a year) will have to pay the local market rent;
  • The introduction of ‘Pay to Stay’ means testing will force more people out of their homes and communities;
  • Selling off Housing Association and council homes will make it ever more difficult for those looking for a place to live, lmost 200,000 council homes will be lost by 2020 if this bill comes into effect.

We need an alternative approach to the housing crisis, one which means building more homes, not selling them off.

Over the last couple of years we have seen growing resistance to the housing crisis and the social cleansing of working class communities from big cities. The Focus E15 Mother’s and those on the New Era Estate defended their right to stay put, and thousands joined the March For Homes early last year.

That is why we must resist this attack, and join together in opposing the bill.

Kill The Housing Bill demonstration

Sunday, 13 March, march from Lincoln’s Inn Fields (Holborn tube) to Parliament Square.
Join the housing bloc on the People’s Assembly’s demonstration on 16 April.

Cameron Panting

Cameron Panting

Cameron Panting was formerly National Organiser for Counterfire. He is active within the People's Assembly and Stop The War.

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