Socialist Worker

House building blocked by reliance on private sector

by Simon Basketter
Issue No. 2128

New Labour's plans to build more houses using the private sector lie in ruins. Plans for more than 68,000 homes have been shelved so far this year.

Housing associations are shelving work after many jumped into the private sale market and are now feeling the squeeze of the credit crunch.

The association Places for People and Family Mosaic have deferred plans for a total of more than 3,000 homes so far this year.

Over the past month alone, 51 social housing schemes valued at a total of £500 million have been mothballed.

Also in the the past month, 228 private residential schemes – worth a total of just under £2 billion – have been postponed. This is despite the fact that there is a desperate need for housing in Britain.

An earlier version of this article suggested that a halted housing scheme in Nuns Mill in Northampton was an English Partnerships scheme – English Partnerships point out the development is in fact by Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey.

The Blackwall Reach development in Tower Hamlets is an English Partnerships scheme, but has not been mothballed but is currently subject to a ministerial decision.

Tenants protested at Lambeth town hall in south London last Saturday against plans to weaken tenants' organisation in the borough.

Councillors and officers were stunned as tenants' council members led an 80-strong walkout from the annual tenants conference.

It was supported by Lambeth Defend Council Housing and the local Unison union branch.

Council leader Steve Reed was heckled throughout his opening speech and forced to leave the podium.

Lambeth tenants sent a very strong message that we won't tolerate any attempts to undermine tenants' organisation.

Steve Hack, Lambeth Defend Council Housing

Defend Council Housing conference, Tuesday 25 November. For details go to »

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Article information

Tue 18 Nov 2008, 19:32 GMT
Issue No. 2128
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