1pm til 3pm, Saturday 23rd April
Quakers Meeting House, 10 St James Street S1 2EW
The Tory Government is destroying our social housing. Their plans will drive up rents, extend housing misery and force more people into homelessness – and cripple Local Councils.
“Housing bill would spell loss of 80,000 council houses, town halls warn” The Guardian 29 January 2015
“The Housing and Planning Bill reveals how little Tory MPs think of the public…… With around 27 per cent of Tory MPs declaring on The Register of Member’s Financial Interests that they are landlords, it is absolutely no surprise that this bill passed through the commons so easily.”
The Independent 13 January 2016
The “Housing and Planning Bill” (First Reading) has been passed, by 309 to 216. The only proposals that were forced to go to a vote were those forwarded by Labour, including protection of lifetime council tenancies, forcing Housing Associations to invest money from Right-to-Buy sales in like-for-like properties, and staggeringly even one to ensure rented properties were fit for human habitation. The Bill is now in House of Lords….
What Defend Council Housing says about the Housing and Planning Bill 2015
This legislation is a critical threat to housing in this country. It would:
1. Significantly reduce the future supply of genuinely affordable rented homes by redirecting government support to private developers building publicly subsidised ‘Starter Homes’ that may help a few, at the expense of worsen the prospects for millions in housing need.
2. Further erode the stock of affordable rented homes by compelling Councils to sell-off ‘high value’ homes when they become empty.
3. Require cash-strapped Councils to pay a levy to cash-rich Private Registered Providers (housing associations) to subsidise Right to Buy discounts with no prospect or guarantee of replacement homes for rent in the same areas.
4. Introduce means testing for Council and HA tenants and make them ‘Pay to Stay’ in their homes by charging near-to or full market rents if household income is above £30,000 (£40,000 in London). Social housing tenants are not ‘subsidised’ – this is an unjustified tax on working households, a disincentive to increase earnings, and makes many feel stigmatised. It will be costly to administrate, increase conflict between council landlords, staff and tenants, and is likely to result in people disappearing from tenancy and electoral records.
5. Attack the rights of Gypsies and Travellers through a discriminatory reduction of available housing sites.
6. Provide only a fig-leaf of protection to private renters facing soaring rents, insecurity, disrepair and the constant threat of eviction.
7. In a bombshell late amendment at the start of Report stage, Government is now proposing to abolish life-time Secure Tenancies. This will compound the destabilising of mixed communities, further undermine Council housing as an alternative to market housing, push more households into unsuitable private renting and feed into the rise in housing costs, eviction rates and housing benefit. It breaks a series of undertakings made to tenants since Secure Tenancies were introduced in 1980.
The net effect of the Bill would fundamentally change the housing landscape of the UK and do nothing to solve the housing crisis.
Lord Porter, the leader of Conservative councillors across the country, said the planned sell-off of council houses would drive people into the more expensive private rented sector and reduce their chances of saving enough to put down a deposit on their own home. Town halls would also be forced to sell at least 22,000 of their highest value council homes to fund the sale of housing association homes to tenants
“With 68,000 people currently living in temporary accommodation, annual homelessness spending of at least £330m and more than a million more on council waiting lists, it is clear that only an increase of all types of housing – including those for affordable or social rent – will solve our housing crisis,” said councillor Peter Box, LGA housing spokesman.