Socialist Worker

March for security in our housing

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2438

Activists from the West Hendon estate plan to join thousands of other campaigners surrounding London’s City Hall in protest at the capital’s housing crisis this Saturday.

The March for Homes will bring together housing battles that are taking place across the city.

People on the West Hendon Estate in Barnet face eviction so that 2,000 new flats can be built. 

Campaigners from across London joined a march to Hendon Town Hall in protest at the plans on Thursday of last week.

Thomasina Mitchell, aged 73, has lived there for 42 years. “I don’t want to have to move out at my age,” she said. “I brought my family up there.

“They are playing roulette with the tenants on the estate. It’s about time they put people before profits.”

And battles over housing aren’t limited to London. Hundreds of people gathered outside the home of Tom Crawford in Nottingham last week and stopped bailiffs evicting him. 

Tom, who is 63 and has been treated for cancer, has been in dispute for five years over mortgage payments. 

Bradford & Bingley bank claims he owes it over £40,000 but Tom says he has made the payments.

Evict

This was the second time the bank has tried to evict him. He said the protest outside his home gave him “a new lease of life”. 

The March for Homes is demanding secure tenancies for all, rent controls and an end to the demolition of council housing.

Marchers also want new council homes built, lower rents and the scrapping of the bedroom tax and welfare caps.

Two feeder marches, one from Shoreditch in east London and one from Elephant and Castle in south London, will converge at Tower Bridge. 

Protesters plan to target Tory London mayor Boris Johnson by surrounding City Hall.

Campaigners hope the march can kick-start more action to fight for decent housing and to stop evictions.

Eileen Short is chair of Defend Council Housing, a co-organiser of the March for Homes. She told Socialist Worker, “We are planning a ‘Love Council Housing’ day on Saturday 14 February.

“And there will be more protests in the week leading up to 23 February, when the mayor’s budget will be set.”

Saturday’s march has support from MPs, tenants’ groups, anti-cuts organisations, trades councils and unions. Marchers plan to organise several blocs to represent different groups of workers.

“This is a trade union issue,” said Eileen. “Workers need affordable, good quality housing. The Bectu union is nationally supporting the march. People should raise these issues at work and get their union branches to support protests over housing.”

March For Homes—assemble 12 noon, Saturday 31 January at Shoreditch Church, Shoreditch High St, E1 6JN or at St Mary’s Churchyard, Elephant & Castle, SE1 6SQ. Assemble for an accessible short march at 1.30pm, Potters Field St, SE1 2AA. Go to marchforhomes.org

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News
Tue 27 Jan 2015, 16:09 GMT
Issue No. 2438
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