Gove threatens to ‘Turbo-boost’ estate demolitions

Defend Council Housing activist, Paul Burnham explains what’s behind Michael Gove’s new plans for housing.

Paul speaking at a Haringey anti-demolition meeting in 2016

Leveling Up Secretary Michael Gove has unveiled a ‘long-term plan for housing’ based on ten principles – but his principles do NOT include providing a decent, secure and affordable home for everyone.

Instead, there will be additional subsidies to support the demolition of existing estates. We need to push back, and refurbish rather than demolish.

Gove wants to build garden villages such as ‘the outstanding Welborne development’ at Fareham in Hampshire, ‘championed by my colleague Suella Braverman’. There could be as little as 7.3% affordable housing in this 6,000-home scheme. Fareham Council’s own housing service even made a formal objection to the low level of affordable housing provision.

Building unaffordable housing is part of the problem.

Full article here – Michael Gove speech and estate demolitions 06/09/2023

March for the future of the homelessness sector

Homes for All urges supporters to join our banner on Saturday in solidarity with the St Mungo’s strikers.

St Johns Church, Waterloo Road, SE1 8TY, at 11.30, Saturday 2 September

The strikers should hold their heads high as they return to work. The St Mungo’s strikers have been an inspiration to the trade union movement and so much more. It is unfortunate that they did not resolve all their demands but they can return to a more united workplace. They have helped highlight the scale of homelessness and a housing sector that is now in crisis and exposed the disproportionate salaries of senior managers and the prestigious trustee jobs while low paid staff have been striking to save services for clients.

Occupation of prison flats draws attention to empty homes

Housing campaigners and Housing Rebellion climate campaigners took over empty Ministry of Justice flats on Saturday as part of the weekend of housing action workshops. A block of flats owned by the Ministry of Justice in Islington, that has been lying empty for ten years, was taken over by protesters. Supporters included Islington Homes for All, who have been campaigning for years to get the MoJ to allow Islington Council to take them over.

The Islington Citizen noted ‘Campaigners said it was a “disgrace” that the government has paid £600k for homes sitting empty near Pentonville prison for years, despite calls for them to be used to house families in need. The Ministry of Justice has paid £604,355 on council tax for the three- and four-bedroom former prison officers’ homes off Roman Way since 2016. Islington Council wants to see families living there and is calling on the government to sit down and talk about the flats’ future.’

Architects Journal also covered the protest, and included these words from Homes for All Coordinator Morag:

‘Islington Council has a waiting list of more than 15,000 households needing to access social housing.’ The flats ‘could be renovated, retrofitted, and [used to] get local families off the waiting list back into the local community. We don’t want private developers coming in. That will just gentrify the area or push working-class people out of the area, which is already happening through temporary accommodation because there is no council housing. We want everybody to have access to council housing.’

The BBC covered the occupation with an article on their website ‘Activists occupy homes left empty for a decade’

London Live interview (on Facebook) with Islington Homes for All on the 28 Empty, ex prison warden flats

See inside the Wellington Mews flats

Sign the Islington Homes for All petition calling on the Ministry of Justice to hand over the empty ex-Pentonville prison warden flats.

Notting Hill Carnival remembers Grenfell fire

It is that time of the year again when North Kensington welcomes over a million people from across the country and internationally to the Notting Hill carnival. The carnival takes place in the streets, in the borough Grenfell Tower. On both days there will be a 3-minute silence to remember the 72+ who died needlessly in the fire in 2017.

Love Music Hate Racism will be one of the floats on Sunday who will be partying with a purpose – racism played a role in the causes of the Grenfell Tower fire as well as the crisis that migrants and refugees face without a safe and secure home.

Tickets for the LMHR float

Join housing action workshops this bank holiday 26 to 28 August

Homes for All will join Housing Rebellion this bank holiday weekend to help with hosting housing action workshops. Housing Rebellion will bring activists together, share experiences and learn new skills and information. Housing Rebellion is bringing together housing and climate campaigners to fight for everyone to have a secure home on a liveable planet.

On 8th of July we took part in a national day of action on ‘Housing for Need Not Greed’, which included working with residents on estates facing demolition, residents fighting to stop development on vital green spaces, and protesters against empty homes.

On Saturday and Monday the workshops will be in the House of Annetta, 25 Princelet St in Brick Lane and on Sunday in the Girdlestone community centre, 151 Salisbury Walk in Archway.

On Saturday 26 August, 1pm to 3pm Homes for All will be hosting a workshop The case for Council Housing – Solutions to the Housing Crisis

More information and register for the workshops here

MPs launch inquiry into the need to invest in council homes – share your views

All-Party Parliamentary Group for Council Housing: Launch of Inquiry, 10 July 2023. Photo Credit @EllieEmberson

Tenants reps from across Britain joined Councillors, trade unions and Defend Council Housing campaigners for the launch of a new Inquiry into what Council Housing needs.  

The Inquiry by the All-Party Council Housing Group of MPs (APPG), is inviting evidence from all who live and work or represent council housing, or wish they did.  Greater Manchester Tenants Union volunteered to host a follow up session, along with others, and the Unison trade union is giving national support. The Local Government Association is circulating the call for evidence too.

Defend Council Housing and Homes for All agreed to team up to call for a Five Point Plan to provide concrete proposals to help solve the housing crisis.

Read the Interim Report with contributions from: Prof Danny Dorling, Oxford; Dr Richard Goulding, Univ of Sheffield; Dr Neil Gray, Glasgow; Dr Stuart Hodkinson, Univ of Leeds, Dr Joe Penny, Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment, UCL; Dr Glyn Robbins, London; Prof Stewart Smyth, University College Cork; Prof Paul Watt, LSE

All-Party Parliamentary Group for Council Housing Council Housing: Time to Invest (now, more than ever) – what we know

Invitation to give evidence from Matt Western MP

More info from or

Climate and housing campaigners unite in Housing Day of Action, 8 July

Supporters of Islington Homes for All demand former prison guards’ flats be sold to Islington Council rather than developed for luxury flats

Around 100 people marched in Southwark and people took part in demonstrations and protests in different locations as part of the Housing Day of Action called by Housing Rebellion, bringing together demands for safe affordable housing and action on the climate catastrophe. The main slogan was Housing for need not greed, and campaigners talked about the need for refurbishment not demolition, safe homes for all and saving our green spaces.

Short video of Southwark demo here

Short video of Abbey Wood protest here

More details of actions from Housing Rebellion

In the news…

South London Press covered Southwark protest

BBC London covered Islington protest

My London covered Wandsworth protest

Morning Star covered Abbey Wood (Bexley) protest and occupation

Inside Housing covered Abbey Wood (Bexley) protest and occupation

Housing Action Southwark and Lambeth (HASL) on the Southwark demo
Abbey Wood tower block
Focus E15 in Newham
Save Toland Square in Wandsworth
Harlow DCH and Harlow TUC banner drop at Terminus House
Milton Keynes protest

Grenfell silent walk marks 72 months without justice

Homes for All joined up to 5,000 survivors, residents and others on the Grenfell Silent Walk, Wednesday 14 June 2023.

Six years on from the fire, it is now 72 months since 72 people lost their lives.

All those present vowed to continue the fight for justice and accountability.

As the walk moved off behind the United For Grenfell banner, marchers held placards proclaiming “This much evidence, still no charges”.

The mood was sombre. Many of the marchers, and many more local residents, wore green to symbolise determination to see justice for Grenfell.  Firefighters formed an honour guard for the walk.

Speakers at the rally afterwards spelled out the culpability of the suppliers of the dangerous materials used at Grenfell; and the culpability of the local authority which allowed them to be used. There must be jail time, for justice to be done.

The government has already broken its pledge to implement the recommendations of the Grenfell Public Inquiry, because the owners and managers of high rise buildings have not been required to provide Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs) for all disabled residents.

Survivors spoke to the rally about their loved ones who died in the fire. Marcia Rigg from the United Friends and Families Campaign also spoke powerfully, linking Grenfell with the campaigns of those whose family members have died at the hands of the police.

Join a local protest on 8 July – Housing Day of Action

Housing groups call day of action to demand ‘Refurbish, don’t demolish’

A message from Housing Rebellion:

Across the UK people are challenging the madness and the unfairness of the housing market. At the forefront of this fight are residents on social housing estates trying to stop demolition of their homes and stop regeneration schemes that are destroying the environment and causing blatant social cleansing. 

We are coming together for a national Day of Action to demand 

Housing for need not greed


Refurbish Don’t Demolish!

The day of action will involve a variety of actions in local areas where residents are fighting demolition including Lambeth, Southwark, Camden, Bexley and Glasgow, as well as areas where residents are fighting against luxury developments that won’t provide the affordable housing that is desperately needed including Haringey, Islington and Harlow.

A range of campaign groups are supporting the day, such as the Radical Housing Network, Refurbish Don’t Demolish, Housing Rebellion, Homes for All, Social Housing Action Campaign and Defend Council Housing, as well as estate based campaigns, and we will be highlighting all aspects of housing injustice from high rents, to homelessness to disrepair and over-development. We will also be shining a spotlight on the environmental impact of profit-driven development and the fight to save green spaces.

The local actions will range from an exhibition of alternative regeneration plans, to protest rallies and NVDA stunts (non-violent direct action). Every action will aim to bring together local supporters and we will also be linked together in an online rally, live streaming campaigners from each area and reaching a wider national audience.

We want to involve pensioners and students, private renters and temporary housing tenants, trade unionists and climate campaigners and everyone and anyone who cares about everyone having a decent home on a habitable planet!

We invite you to add your group’s name to the list of supporters of the day of action.

If you are able to get involved please send us your organisation’s logo and let us know if you want to organise your own action or if you would like to support a group of residents taking action in a particular area or on a particular issue (eg. anti-demolition, high rents etc,).

We would also love to hear from you if your organisation can provide a speaker or if you can help us with promotion and publicity for the event.

Contact or join the Housing Rebellion whatsapp chat to join the discussion

Protest locations: Housing day of action – locations – Google Docs