Press Release: CORBYN & LUCAS BACK THOUSANDS STRONG DEMO OPPOSING HOUSING BILL

On Sunday 13 March 2016, thousands of people from across the country will march on Parliament to oppose the Government’s Housing and Planning Bill and demand: secure homes for all, rent controls, and homes for people not for profit.

 HTTPS://WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EVENTS/973999866019425/

Campaigners say the Bill, which is currently in the House of Lords, threatens to make the UK’s housing crisis much worse, send rent and house prices soaring and spells the end of council and social housing.

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: The march will assemble at Lincoln’s Inn Fields at midday Sunday 13 March 2016. Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and celebrities plan to address the crowds in Parliament Square.

The national demonstration is organised by the Kill the Housing Bill campaign and will be attended by council tenants, home owners, private renters, architects, students, migrants groups, women’s campaigns, trade unionists and many more. It is supported by a wide range of MPs, Lords and celebrities.

John McDonnell MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, said:

“People are desperate for a stable and decent home they can actually afford to live in but the Tories Housing Bill will make the housing crisis drastically worse. Labour is opposing it in Parliament but I’m also opposing it outside Parliament by supporting the Kill the Housing Bill demonstration on the 13th March. Millions of people across the country are struggling to afford to rent or buy a home but the Government is callous in its disregard for people’s right to secure themselves the right to a decent home. This bill demonstrates the worst attack on social housing provision seen in decades. It will result in more genuinely affordable social housing units being sold off which is scandalous when we have such a severe housing crisis on our hands. Under this Tory Government homelessness is already sharply on the rise and thousands are being socially cleansed from our cities”.

Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP said:

“I am proud to support the Kill the Housing Bill campaign in their fight to stand up and defend the right to a secure and truly affordable home for everyone. The Government had an opportunity to utterly rethink the housing model  but instead they have put another nail in the coffin for social housing. This Bill  is being used to pull the rug from underneath those who rely on our already limited stock of social housing, destroying the very bricks and mortar of the welfare state.  It is also a sure fire way to extend  – not end – the housing crisis”

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’ properties on the private market 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 annual income of £70,000 in London.

Sarah Quigley, a council tenant from North London on the effect the bill have on her family:

“I live in Camden in a one bedroom council flat with my partner and two young daughters, and I am a carer for my disabled mother, who lives nearby. If the Housing Bill is passed there is no way we will be able to get the two-bed council flat that we need, and it will mean that I can no longer afford to live in Camden, or even London, where I have lived all my life.”

Notes to editors:

●    The march will assemble at Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2A 3TL at 12 noon on Sunday 13 March. The route of the demo is via Aldwych, the Strand, crossing over the river to the South bank, and returning over Westminster Bridge to Parliament. The march will end with a rally in Parliament Square at 2pm.

●    The march will be joined by a number of politicians and celebrities. Speakers who plan to attend (although tbc) include Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, Caroline Lucas, 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), Bakers Union, 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.

●    Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/973999866019425/

●    For more information see: killthehousingbill.wordpress.com

●    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 or who will be directly affected by the Bill are available to interview.

Press Contact:

Email: killthehousingbillmedia@gmail.com

Joe Beswick 07873 557040

Katya Nasim 07791 018631

 

Kill the Housing Bill – Opposition Spreading

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Opposition is spreading fast.  The House of Lords may vote to block the Bill’s progress in Parliament (for a while at least).  This is the time to step up efforts and build the march against the Bill – to show our united determination and pressure MPs to oppose it too.
50,000 leaflets have gone out in the last week.  Posters and stickers are also now available.

New supporters include National Union of Teachers, CWU post and telecoms trade unions, Peoples Assembly, two London councils and the Momentum campaign (supporters of Jeremy Corbyn). And 74 academics nail the Housing Bill – seeGuardian letters (the second letter).

How you can help
* Can you phone 5 tenant groups/reps in the next week to help get the word out ?  We can send a list, plus suggested ‘script’ of points.  Please email if you can help.
* Lords – can you email 20 Lords to explain why the Bill is wrong?
* Get the word out:
   – use leaflet, posters, stickers and petition.  Collect from Unite office 128 Theobalds Rd WC1X 8TN  (check first if you need a lot ) or  email to get them posted.
   – like and share  Facebook  National Demo Against The Housing Bill and  petition:Stop the Housing Bill
* Come to the next Kill the Bill organising meeting 2nd March 7pm  – not at usual place but at Unite 33-37 Moreland St London EC1V 8BB (unless you hear otherwise)
What’s on 
29 Feb      7pm Housing Public Meeting Ealing Town Hall Unite Community 07983 977775
2 March    7pm Kill the Housing Bill organising meeting
6 March    1pm London Youth march for Homes – Facebook:YOUTH MARCH FOR HOUSING (LONDON)
7 March    6pm London Mayoral election hustings: NUT – details and tickets here 
                   and see petition:   Teachers, Students and Key Workers
8 March    6.30pm islington Council meeting for all residents on the Housing Bill – at Town Hall
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Motion to Tenants Council – Kill the Housing Bill

THIS TENANTS COUNCIL NOTES:

The Government’s Housing and Planning Bill means higher rents, less security and less chance of a home you can afford. The Bill:
• Makes councils sell off existing council homes
• Removes secure tenancies
• Introduces a “pay to stay” scheme for social housing tenants if two household members income is more than £30k (£40k in London)
• Means increased rents and longer waiting lists
• Reduces travellers’ rights
• Makes councils provide unaffordable “Starter Homes” instead of affordable housing for rent

The Kill the Housing Bill Campaign has already organised protests, lobbies and meetings aimed at bringing the Bill down, or making it unworkable. Walworth East Area Forum has already voted to oppose the Housing Bill and urge Southwark Council to do the same.

THIS TENANTS COUNCIL BELIEVES:

The Housing and Planning Bill will not solve the housing crisis. It will make it worse. It will force people from their homes, families and communities, into insecure private renting.
This Tenants Council calls on Southwark Council to refuse to implement the Housing Bill and in particular to:
• Not collect data on the incomes of tenants
• Not introduce higher rents for some tenants as part of the government’s pay to stay scheme, or any local variant involving a taper system
• Continue to issue secure tenancies to all new tenants
• Not sell off “high value council homes” and refuse to pay the levy imposed by the government to fund Right to Buy to housing association tenants
• Call on the Council Trade Unions to support non co-operation with the Housing Bill and resist any attempt by council chief officers or Government appointees to force through implementation
• Call on TRAs, Area Forums and SGTO to support the Council’s position of non-co-operation with the Housing Bill
• Propose a joint campaign of non-co-operation with other Councils opposed to the Bill

THIS TENANTS COUNCIL RESOLVES:

• To add its name to the Kill the Housing Bill Campaign
• To urge the delegates of Tenants Council to publicise the Kill the Housing Bill Campaign and send representatives to the organising meetings
• To urge tenants to support the national demonstration at 12pm at Lincolns Inn Fields on Sunday 13 March 2016
• To urge Area Forums and TRAs and SGTO to adopt this motion and organise local activities against the Bill.

Sign the petition against the Housing Bill

TO: MINISTER OF STATE FOR HOUSING AND PLANNING. BRANDON LEWIS MP.

Scrap the Housing and Planning Bill, in particular:
1. Stop forcing councils to sell much needed social homes
2. Drop plans to charge higher rent to households with incomes over £30k (40k in London)
3. Retain secure tenancies
4. Scrap moves to make it easier to evict private renters, and reintroduce rent controls
5. Invest in social housing so that councils can build truly affordable homes

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

The Housing Bill will take away public funding from affordable homes for rent, instead funnelling money into ‘Starter Homes’ that only the rich can afford. It will make it easier for private landlords to evict renters, and do nothing to control private rents.

The bill will also force cash-strapped councils to hand over millions of pounds to housing associations to allow them to sell their properties cheaply, and replace secure tenancies with ones as short as 2 years

Social housing has been the bedrock of many communities for the past 70 years. It pays for itself and 30 years ago provided homes to one in three British people, allowing people and communities to thrive. We are not against people buying a home, but this must not be at the expense of social housing for those who can’t afford to buy.

Sign here: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stop-the-housing-bill

 

March Against The Housing Bill – January 30th

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ASSEMBLE 12 NOON AT IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM LAMBETH ROAD SE1 6HZ

MARCH TO CAMERON’S PUBLICLY FUNDED HOME IN DOWNING STREET FOR 2PM

The Housing Bill marks the end of social housing. The Housing Bill condemns millions more to a lifetime of insecure private renting. It is a charter for estate demolitions and property speculation driving up rents and house prices.

  • The end of secure lifetime tenancies. Council tenancies will be for 2 to 5 years with no right to pass it on to your children.
  • Landlords will have access to tenant’s personal income information and if households start to earn over £40,000 (a couple on the living wage) they will be hit with a PAY-TO-STAY TAX for the difference between their social rent and the market rent – in Waterloo that would be an average of £26,000.
  •  Local authorities will be forced to sell ‘high value’ properties whenever they come vacant – what flat in London is not high value? Housing association tenants will get the right to buy, so reducing stock further.
  •  Private renters and Travellers to have reduced housing rights.
  •  Developers will have to build ‘starter homes’ for sale instead of ‘affordable’ homes for rent. Starter homes will be worth up to £450,000 and sold at a 20% discount – but only to people with enough money to get that kind of a mortgage!

Join the march, lobby your MP, spread the word and KILL THIS BILL

Info: housingactivists.co.uk or radicalhousingnetwork.org.

To help: lambethhousingactivists@gmail.com / 07834 828 292