Socialist Worker

Homeless people pay the price of the Tories’ attacks on council housing

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2473

The death of a two month old baby boy last week who lived in a car in Dorset with his homeless parents underlined the shocking extent of Britain’s housing crisis.

The cause of baby Donald’s death was unknown as Socialist Worker went to press. 

But his family’s circumstances were made much more difficult when they were evicted by their private landlord.

They didn’t have the money for a deposit on somewhere new—and councils had failed to get them a permanent home.

Councillors in Donald’s father’s home town of Bournemouth refused to house them at all because Donald’s mother was from Kent, which she had left to flee an abusive partner.

Meanwhile London homelessness charity New Horizon Youth Centre revealed it has started giving young homeless people bus tickets to sleep on night buses because it can’t find them beds.

But the government, council leaders and housing association landlords are driving through more ways to push housing stock into the private sector.

Housing association bosses were debating a deal with the Tories as Socialist Worker went to press that would implement the right to buy policy on a voluntary basis. 

This would further reduce the number of homes available at “social rents”.

Bailiffs evicted the last resident of Sweets Way estate in Barnet, north London, on Thursday of last week, as well as protesters there to support him. 


The estate is to be demolished and redeveloped for private landlords at much higher rents.

The Fred Wigg and John Walsh towers in Leytonstone, east London, also face a “renovation” that would hand more council properties over to private landlords.

Tenants protested there on Monday and Tuesday mornings of this week to stop the council removing doors onto the balconies in the run-up to the works. 

North London’s Haringey council revealed last week that it plans to rehouse some of the 4,000 council tenants whose homes it is knocking down in private rentals.

Yet it still found £86,000 for a new logo. This follows a march hundreds-strong through the borough against the plans earlier this month. 

Protesters celebrated outside a south London court on Friday of last week. 

The Guinness Trust housing association was forced to adjourn proceedings to evict a family from the estate it wants to knock down in Brixton. They demand the right to be rehoused.

Trade unions and housing campaigns have called a People’s Housing Conference in London on Saturday 10 October to build on this resistance.

Speakers were set to include Labour’s London mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan and Alex Kenny from the National Union of Teacher’s executive.

Register for the People’s Housing Conference here

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Tue 29 Sep 2015, 15:59 BST
Issue No. 2473
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