Motions on: Tackling the Housing Crisis

Motions in this section from:

1) South London People's Assembly
2) Defend Council Housing
3) Hackney People's Assembly

1) South London People's Assembly

This People’s Assembly notes:

1. 1
The country is in a deep housing crisis. Millions are stuck in over-priced and insecure accommodation with no prospect of ever having a home of their own. Homelessness is rising.

The numbers living in private rented accommodation where they have few protections is rising relentlessly and we are heading towards a situation similar to that before the birth of the Welfare State.

The Housing and Planning Act passing through parliament aims practically at the end of social housing in Britain as significant provider of housing. Plans to force the sell off of housing association and council housing will get the sector. The act is complex though and will be difficult to implement. It faces numerous challenges.

This People’s Assembly further notes:

Housing is moving up the political agenda. It is one of the most pressing issues today.

The success of the March For Homes in London in January in raising the profile of the issue, putting a series of demands that comprehensively address the housing crisis and aiding the growth of the housing movement.

The success of the March for Homes in bringing together across generations and across housing types.

This People’s Assembly resolves that:

The national People’s Assembly will call a National March For Homes in 2016.

The national People’s Assembly will approach other national organisations and those relevant to discuss this and to involve the broadest possible forces.

A National March For Homes should put a broad range of demands to comprehensively address the housing crisis.

That a National March For Homes should aim to speed the development of a  nationwide movement for housing.


2) Defend Council Housing

The Housing & Planning Bill 2015 will intensify the housing crisis.  We support urgent action to defeat the Bill’s proposals, and for policies to meet the urgent and growing housing need across Britain.
Britain already pays the highest-ever proportion of our income for housing.  Evictions are at record levels; 4.5 million are on waiting lists, and a whole generation is trapped in insecure and exorbitant private renting.

The Housing Bill would reduce the number of genuinely affordable homes, and encourage even more property speculation by:
*  Extending Right to Buy to housing association (HA) tenants will be paid for by selling off 'high value' council homes on the open market, with no guarantee homes sold will be replaced. 
* Forcing Council and housing association tenants with a family income over £30,000 (£40,000 in London) to pay market rents, driving many from their homes and destroying mixed communities, with Government taking the extra money to ‘pay off the deficit’.
* On new sites, developers can increase profits by providing publicly subsidised 'Starter Homes' for a few instead of homes for rent.
* Travellers will have even less chance of a site or mooring; waiting lists will get longer. 
*  nothing but token words to help millions suffering the unaffordable rents, constant threat of eviction and sub-standard conditions of private renting.

The Peoples Assembly supports:

  • Active resistance from tenants, trade unions and councillors which can make many of the Bill’s proposals unworkable.
  • Linking with MPs, local councils and housing associations in local and national protests
  • Joining with resistance to the Bedroom Tax and benefit cuts, estate sell-offs and evictions, demolition and privatisation
  • Demands for increased regulation of private renting, secure tenancies and rent controls for private tenants
  • An alternative housing strategy of investment in existing and new council and other homes to meet need, not greed. Thousands of acres of publicly owned land could be used to build a new generation of energy-efficient council homes, cutting rents, and creating job and training opportunities.
  • A national March for Homes in spring 2016.

3) Hackney People's Assembly

This conference notes:

  • only 53% of the target of 7,920 homes at social and the unaffordable ‘affordable’ rents were delivered in 2013/14i and that the target is in any case inadequate
  • this failure to build the homes that are needed at rents that people can afford is repeated across the country and over many years
  • the Housing Bill with Right to Buy 2 and Pay to Stay will sabotage existing homes at social and affordable rents and future investment in them.

This conference calls for:

  • outright opposition to the Housing Bill
  • an end to privatisation of public land and use of public land for private house building
  • central Government housing grants to local authorities to build council housing
  • empty homes to be brought back into use
  • measures to prevent the rich commandeering housing for investment rather than to live in
  • rent controls
  • secure tenancies
  • investment in construction training to alleviate skills shortages and so high standard, ultra-low energy sustainable homes are delivered
  • a halt to Labour Councils selling off/transferring council housing

Conference calls on the People’s Assembly to organise

  • a national housing conference
  • and a London housing conference
  • prior to the Spring elections in the UK to develop these policies and to bring together and mobilise housing and other campaigners in active resistance to this Government’s housing policies.

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