Socialist Worker

Councils make evictions pledges as tenants' movement deepens

Issue No. 2346

Islington council in north London last week became the first Labour-run local authority to take a stand against evictions.

Councillor Richard Greening said people who fall behind on rent as a result of the tax would not be evicted “if they have nowhere else to go”.

“A lot of people won’t be able to avoid the tax,” he said.

“But if there’s clearly nowhere for them to move then it’s pointless to evict them.

“They’ll end up in the private sector where rents are higher and so cost the taxpayer more.

“If people have no option of somewhere to move to and their arrears are entirely due to the bedroom tax then we won’t evict them.”

Greening made the statement under pressure from campaigners at a campaign meeting of around 70 people—following a unanimous vote.

Brighton and Hove council, which is run by the Green Party, has made a similar pledge.

So has the Scottish National Party administration of Dundee.

The pledges aren’t perfect.

They come with a time limit, they don’t apply to tenants in housing associations, and it’s not clear how people will be expected to prove their arrears are “entirely” due to the bedroom tax.

But they are a major step forward, and every housing association and council should be under pressure to do the same.

Trade unionists working for a number of social housing landlords have also voted to call on their bosses not to evict tenants—and to support workers who refuse to take part in evictions.

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