Socialist Worker

Butterfields tenants say they won’t budge

by Ben Morris
Issue No. 2493

Housing protesters outside Hackney town hall east London

Housing protesters outside Hackney town hall in east London (Pic: Dean Ryan)


Around 60 Butterfields Estate tenants and supporters packed a meeting in Walthamstow, north east London, on Wednesday of last week.

They were inspired by speakers from the New Era estate in neighbouring Hackney, who faced similar circumstances and fought back successfully.

Tenants found out in January that charity Glasspool Trust had sold off 63 homes to a private developer.

As tenants have begun to organise, the mood has shifted from shock and fear to collective action.

They’ve printed “Butterfields Won’t Budge” window posters, ran campaigning stalls, and there are now moves to form a tenants’ association.

They will also be joining the national housing demonstration 13 March in London.

One tenant explained that her family lived nearby and that she had been there for 15 years. “This is my home. I intend to stay put,” she said.

Many of the tenants are on low incomes and could not afford the borough’s rocketing market rents.

One tenant on the minimum wage explained that he has to work 150 hours a month just to pay his £1,100 a month rent.

Salaries

The market rent for a two bedroom flat in the area is now around £1,500 a month.

Tenant Anna said, “I don’t understand how property can go up in price every year when salaries don’t go up.

“The government needs to understand that the working class is the base of the city”.


Around 30 protesters burst into letting agents’ offices in Hackney, east London, last Saturday, in a protest at letting practices.

Tenants’ campaign Hackney Digs called the protest at the town hall and went to three lettings agents.

The firms were reported to have policies to not accept people on housing benefit as tenants.


Young people and children were set to lead a housing protest in Brixton, south London, this Sunday.

Campaigners are demanding more council housing and a halt to demolitions.

They also oppose the Tories’ Housing and Planning Bill, which would deal social and council housing a killer blow.

  • Assemble 1pm, Windrush Square, Brixton, SW2

Support is growing for the national march against the Tories’ Housing Bill on Sunday 13 March.

Activists held stalls to build the demo last weekend. A number of councils and trade unions are backing it.

  • Assemble 12 noon, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3TL.

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