Next General Meeting – 19th May 2018, London

 

Join us at the next Homes for All campaign meeting on Saturday, 19th May 2018.

From 11am at SOAS, University of London

 10 Thornhaugh Street, LONDON WC1H 0XG 

(nearest tube Russell Square). 

We’ll be in the Brunel Gallery building, opposite the main SOAS building, room B104 (first floor).

The meeting is open to all.  Please let us know asap if you would like to add anything to the agenda.

Among the issues we’ll discuss are:

·         The local elections and their impact

·         National Grenfell demo, 16th June.

·         Fire safety

·         Labour Party’s green paper on housing.

·         Update on All Party Group of MPs for council housing.

 

Homes For All: Election Briefing for May 2018 Local Elections

HOMES FOR ALL

(incorporating Axe the Housing Act)

Election Campaign Update and Briefing

If elected as a Councillor in May 2018 will you pledge to support:

  • No eviction of tenants in rent and service charge arrears due to Universal Credit
  • Calls on other local landlords not to evict due to Universal Credit arrears
  • Regulation of private renting to include controlled rents, secure tenancies and an end to no-fault and retaliatory evictions
  • 50 per cent council and social rent housing on any new development site and 100 per cent on publiclyowned land
  • A residents’ ballot before any major redevelopment scheme involving demolition or decanting of existing residents
  • Rejecting attacks on migrants: developers, landlords and political policies cause the housing crisis, not migrants
  • Linking up with other councils and councillors to promote a national petition demanding Government deliver promised funding for fire safety improvement works
  • Joining with tenants and trade unions to deliver this petition to Downing Street and/or relevant Ministers

 

Introduction

We need to redouble our efforts to achieve Justice for Grenfell and decent, secure, truly affordable and safe Homes for All.

That requires political action to scrap the Housing and Planning Act, control rents in the private sector and invest in existing and new/reclaimed council housing. To achieve this we need to unite as tenants and housing activists, trade unions and politicians who support our aims, from all parts of the country, working together to expose, highlight and challenge the housing crisis.

 

Un-met need

  • 92% of local authorities (LAs) failed to meet affordable housing need in 2016-17
  • The Government estimates Numbers sleeping rough sleepers in England rose 15% in 2016-17 and 169% from 2010. (MHLGC figures released 25.01.18). These are an underestimate and exclude sofa-surfers, those in temporary, unfit and otherwise insecure housing.

New Homes for rent

  • In England 217,350 net additional homes were created in 2016-17 (DCLG 16.11.17)
  • Of these 2.48% (5,380) were built for ‘social rent’. 1,840 homes were built by local authorities (LA) in England 2016-17.
  • The number of social rented homes has fallen by 151,000, or 4%: 103,642 local authority homes and 46,972 housing association (HA) homes for social rent were lost between 2012 and 2017. (MHLGC- England)
  • Housing associations have 47,000 fewer properties let at social rent in 2017 compared to 2012. The biggest loss is homes shifted to ‘Affordable’ rent tenancies: 102,000 HA lettings have been converted so far.
  • The 15 biggest ‘G15’ housing associations, which own 550,000 homes (21% of all HA homes) started only 244 new homes for social rent, 3 per cent of their total new homes, in the first 9 months of 2017-18 http://g15london.org.uk/about-us/g15-in-numbers/
  • New ‘Affordable Rent’ (up to 80% market rent) homes increased by 27% (to 41,530) in 2016-17

 

Private renters

More than half of the population knows someone who is struggling to afford to rent or buy a suitable home. More than 7 in 10 renters have experienced health and safety issues during their current tenancy, from rodent infestations to doors that don’t lock.  40% avoided asking for repairs, for fear of landlord reprisals. (See Citizens Advice, ‘A state of disrepair’ 2017)

The lack of affordable and social housing is directly trapping families in poverty – 90% of low income private renters face a shortfall between their housing benefit and their rent.

Today in the UK almost 60% of those living in poverty are non-pensioners in working households. In 1994, at 35%, this figure was markedly lower. Poverty rates before housing costs for working households with and without children have remained largely unchanged since 1994. It is only after accounting for housing costs that the poverty has greatly increased.   (These figures from recent research by the IFS and JRF)

 

Housing & Planning Act 2016

The outline Housing and Planning Act (‘the Act’) was passed in 12 May 2016 and has been disintegrating ever since. Implementation of the Act has largely stalled and the necessary enabling measures are unlikely to get through parliament. Opposition in and outside parliament means:

  • Pay to Stay will not be imposed on council tenants.
  • Right to Buy for housing association tenants is delayed indefinitely
  • Sell-off of “higher value” empty council homes is suspended for two years.
  • Over-priced Starter Homes targets on new developments dropped.
  • Some of the changes to the planning system delayed or dropped.

Local Planning Authorities’ register of “brownfield land” no longer has to contain ALL the brownfield land. Some local authorities are only including large sites which already have planning permission.

The requirement to grant “Permission in Principle” to all sites on the Brownfield Register has also been scrapped. Plans to force local authorities to privatise their development control functions through competition with private providers, have not progressed beyond pilot schemes.

Briefing available to download and share here: H4A _election briefingMay2018

 

Petition to demand Ballots for ‘Estate Regeneration’

The campaign to demand ballots on estates threatened with demolition or large-scale redevelopment is continuing to grow.  Important concessions have been won in London, but these need to be increased and applied everywhere.

Please sign and share the following petition:

https://www.change.org/p/sadiq-khan-ensure-votes-for-residents-on-estates-facing-regeneration?recruiter=687346745&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition

Our demands for decent, secure homes and rent control is shared by working class communities around the world.

 

PROTEST – SAVILLS AUCTION, LONDON. MARCH 26TH 2018

Join us in supporting and building a protest at Savills auction of social housing in London this month.

A vast number of the ‘lots’ being auctioned off to the highest bidder are former social housing homes – being sold off by councils and housing associations in the interest of making money in lieu of housing people who need affordable, secure homes.

Protest scheduled for Monday 26th March, meeting from 8am outside the auction itself at the Marriot Hotel Grosvenor Square, London W1K 6JP.

 

Screenshot 2018-03-12 at 20.15.26

 

See here for further reading and protest support from The Guardian:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/mar/24/london-social-housing-sell-off-protest-luxury-hotel

 

Housing Summit 2017 – Next Steps

Thanks to all the 200 tenants of all tenures, workers and unions, homeless and other campaigners who took part in the Summit – and good
to meet all the new groups and campaigns.

We are demanding action for Grenfell and on fire safety, new council housing, stopping demolition, rent controls, Universal Credit and scrapping the 2016 Housing and Planning Act.

Ministers’ promises about Grenfell, about new council homes, private renters’ rights and action on safety are proving hollow and we are part of growing grassroots movement demanding action.

At the Housing Summit last weekend, 200 activists and campaigners drew up an action plan for the next steps to truly solving our housing crisis, find it here:

http://www.axethehousingact.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/ActionPlanfromSummit_2017.pdf

 

As part of the solution to the London housing crisis, as Mayor Sadiq Khan promised, is the need for new council housing and social rent, but the Mayor’s current plan includes nothing. We want a ballot before any estate demolition. We want council homes built on former Holloway and other prison sites. We want a campaign for full funding of all fire safety measures as ministers’ promised.

The London Mayor’s Housing consultation runs until 7 December 2017, have your say about London’s need for truly affordable, lifelong, secure housing here:

https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/housing-and-land/have-your-say-tackling-londons-housing-crisis

And there is a petition to stop more Compulsory Purchase injustice at Thamesmead here

Let us know about housing campaigns in your local area and let’s continue our fight into 2018 stronger than ever.

 

 

Justice for Grenfell – Protest, December 6th London

Please join the Grenfell protest this Wednesday 6th December from 5.30pm at:
Kensington Town Hall, Horton St, W8 7NX

To demand permanent homes for all the surivivors, now.

See Justice4Grenfell:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1937805583147916/

 

 

HOUSING SUMMIT: MESSAGE FROM JEREMY CORBYN, MP

 

 

” I’m sorry I can’t be with you today. There’s never been a time when housing has been such an important issue for millions of people. We have a deepening housing crisis created by decades of allowing policy to be dictated by the market. Housing policy must be about providing homes for the many, not investment opportunities for the few. 

This weeks budget shows the government is not prepared to take the action needed to solve the crisis. Beneath the accounting tricks and spin, nothing they announced on Wednesday will guarantee that a single additional home is built.

We need to change direction. A Labour government will invest in housing. By doing that we’re also investing in the next generation. So I want to see a return to building high quality, energy efficient council housing, with secure permanent tenancies and truly affordable rents. The post-war Labour government managed to build half a million council homes in five years. We need that scale of ambition again. 

But we also need to look at other aspects of the housing crisis. The situation for private renters is appalling, paying half or more of their income on rent, often for sub-standard, overcrowded homes and mostly only ever two months away from an eviction notice. Labour will give cities the powers to introduce rent controls, and improve the tenancy conditions of private tenants so they can plan their lives without constant insecurity. 

As I said in my speech at Labour Party conference, I also want to see an end to regeneration projects being used for social cleansing. That’s why the next Labour government will put residents at the heart of estate management. As I said in my speech to Labour Party conference in September:

When councils come forward with proposals for regeneration, we will put down two markers based on one simple principal:

Regeneration under a Labour government will be for the benefit of the local people, not private developers, not property speculators.

First, people who live on an estate that’s redeveloped must get a home on the same site and the same terms as before. No social cleansing, no jacking up rents, no exorbitant ground rents.

And second, councils will have to win a ballot of existing tenants and leaseholders before any redevelopment scheme can take place.

Real regeneration, yes, but for the many not the few.

Grenfell Tower was a preventable disaster. Real Justice for Grenfell means a society where there’s decent, secure, truly affordable and safe homes for all. The next Labour government will deliver that. “