Press Release 11/03/16 – Sisters Uncut and Focus E15 will join thousands from across the country this Sunday to oppose the Government’s Housing Bill

Sisters Uncut and Focus E15 will join thousands from across the country this Sunday to oppose the Government’s Housing Bill and demand: secure homes for all, rent controls, homes for people not for profit.
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: The march will assemble at Lincoln’s Inn Fields at 12 noon Sunday 13 March 2016. Community housing campaigns will lead the march, joined by John McDonnell MP and celebrities, migrants, architects, private renters, students, trade unions and more. Rally in Parliament Sq at 2pm.
The demonstration is organised by the campaign to Kill the Housing Bill#KilltheHousingBill. Campaigners say the Bill, currently in the Lords, threatens to make the UK’s housing crisis much worse by sending rent and house prices soaring and aims to destroy council and social housing.
This week has seen opposition to the Housing Bill escalate. This Tuesday, ameeting at Islington Town Hall to oppose the Bill attracted over 400 people. AndRadical Housing Network, a network of London-based housing campaigns, are protesting the Bill by occupying an empty property – prime real estate – near Harrods to set up ‘Our House’, a pop-up Community Centre with a week-long programme of events.
Focus E15, a housing campaign of mothers from Newham said:
“Focus E15 will be demonstrating against the Housing Bill this Sunday because this Bill is the worst attack on social housing we’ve seen. It will result in the private sale of up to 100% of council houses, and raise rents through “pay to stay”, forcing thousands from their homes and out of London.
“We fight Labour mayor Robin Wales’ social cleansing policies in Newham and now we must collectively act across London and the nation to fight this Tory Housing Bill.”
Sisters Uncut, a feminist group taking direct action over cuts to domestic violence services, said: “Two women a week die at the hands of violent partners or ex-partners. Women experiencing domestic violence must have viable housing options to be able to leave abusive relationships. Social housing, housing benefit and refuges are vital provisions to provide women with escape routes, gain independence and heal from their experiences.
“The Housing Bill will not just undermine women’s options and agency, it will lead to more women being forced to remain in danger. The government should not feel comfortable about causing the most vulnerable people in our society to be at greater risk of poverty, homelessness and abuse.”
Antonia Bright of Movement for Justice, a migrants campaign protesting Yarl’s Wood detention centre, said:
“The fight for housing rights is a fight for basic dignity – to live and be free to go to school, to work, to be safe, and be part of a community. Whether we were born here, or came later this is all our fight. To win, which together we can, our communities must be untied, bold, and must reject all racism and anti-immigrant bigotry.
“The political parties have been prepared to blame immigration for the housing crisis. This is a distraction from the destruction of social housing.”
A spokesperson for the Kill the Housing Bill campaign said: “The Tories’ Housing Bill aims to destroy council housing, and will hit everyone on low or middle incomes trying to rent or buy. It condemns millions to a lifetime of insecure, expensive private renting. Everyone deserves a decent home, but landlords, developers and the rich will be the only ones to benefit from this Bill.”
The proposed legislation:
● Forces local authorities to sell ‘high value’ council properties when they become empty – the biggest council housing sell-off in generations.
● Abolishes new secure lifetime tenancies in council housing, replacing them with 2 – 5 year tenancies.
● Hits social tenants with a combined income of £30,000 (£40,000 in London) or more with a ‘pay to stay’ tax, to bring their rent up to market levels – an up to 400% increase.
● Does nothing to address the housing crisis, and instead replaces obligations to build social housing with Cameron’s unaffordable ‘starter homes’ – requiring an income of £70,000 in London.
Notes to editors
● The march assembles at Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2A 3TL at 12 noon on Sunday 13 March. The route is via Aldwych, south over Waterloo Bridge, Westminster Bridge to Parliament. Rally in Parliament Square at 2pm.
● The march will be joined by John McDonnell MP, Caroline Lucas MP, Natalie Bennett and celebrities.
● The Kill the Housing Bill campaign is supported by Defend Council Housing, Radical Housing Network, Focus E15 campaign, Momentum, People’s Assembly, GMB Union, National Union of Teachers (NUT), Communication Workers Union (CWU), Unite Housing Workers, London Gypsy Traveller Unit, National Bargee Travellers Association, Leeds Hands Off Our Homes, The Green Party, John McDonnell MP and many more.
● For more information see:
● For Shelter’s assessment of the Housing Bill see: this Shelter report
● For a brief overview of the Housing Bill see: this report
● Spokespeople from the campaign and people in housing crisis are available to interview.
● FB EVENT click here. Twitter: @KillHousingBill #KilltheHousingBill
Joe Beswick 07873 557040
Katya Nasim 07791 018631