Socialist Worker

How can anyone say 'no room for refugees'

Issue No. 1684

Greedy Speculators keep 637,000 homes empty

How can anyone say 'no room for refugees'

THE NUMBER of empty homes in Britain has leapt to 772,300 in the last year, according to a survey by the Empty Homes Agency released this week. The biggest culprits are speculators and landlords who keep homes empty hoping to cash in on rising prices.

These parasites now own 636,800 empty homes, up 13,500 in the last year. The Investors Property Corporation are typical. They kept seven homes empty for over seven years in just one street in Croydon, south London. Croydon council housing official John Bownas says, "Investors seem to be hanging on to empty houses until they judge the market is right."

There are 114,100 empty homes in London alone. A third have been vacant for over a year, almost exactly matching the 40,000 families officially homeless in the capital. The government itself owns 16,000 empty homes. Politicians and the press whip up a filthy campaign against Afghan refugees. They say there is "no room" for people fleeing persecution and poverty. The refugees and all those in housing need in Britain could have decent homes if the empty properties were taken from the speculators.

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Sat 19 Feb 2000, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1684
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