Socialist Worker

Housing: Who are the real ‘under-occupiers’?

Issue No. 2224

The Tories want to force council tenants who earn anything more than poverty wages out of their homes.

Leaked plans on Monday said the Tories plan to abolish lifetime secure council house tenancies.

Anyone deemed to be earning above a certain amount would lose their tenancy and be forced to turn to the private sector.

Council tenants may also be told they must move if they are “under-occupying” their home—maybe where children have grown up and left.

But tenants are determined to resist. Over 100 Defend Council Housing (DCH) campaigners came to a public meeting on Monday night.

Eileen Short, chair of DCH, said Tory plans would turn council housing into “means tested, time-limited poverty transit camps.”

Spiralling waiting lists have a simple cause—Tory and Labour governments’ refusal to build sufficient council housing.

And as one campaigner at the meeting said, “It’s the rich who are the real under-occupiers, with their huge houses and second or even third properties.”

The meeting launched a five-point statement to defend council tenants and housing.

Ken Livingstone and the Labour leader of Islington council have backed the statement.

John McDonnell MP, Barking and Dagenham Labour councillor Phil Waker, and representatives from Unite union and the Green Party spoke at the meeting.

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Tue 19 Oct 2010, 18:53 BST
Issue No. 2224
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