Socialist Worker

Tories show their nasty side with housing policy

by Alistair Farrow
Issue No. 2524

Tory plans will let developers continue to make huge profits, as they did with the Heygate estate in Southwark

Tory plans will let developers continue to make huge profits, as they did with the Heygate estate in Southwark (Pic: geograph.org.uk)


Plans unveiled by the Tories to boost housing won’t come close to solving the crisis of a lack of affordable homes.

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced that he would lend £3 billion to building firms to encourage house building.

House building in Britain has fallen to its lowest peace time rate since the 1920s.

All Hammond’s plan will mean is a few more developments—mostly luxury ones— geared towards making profits.

The Tories’ real views were summed up by housing minister Gavin Barwell, who told a fringe meeting at the Tory conference that council housing “increases inequality”.

Victory

But housing campaigners scored a victory at Labour conference, passing a motion committing the party to oppose the Housing and Planning Act and to “a massive council house building programme”.

But action is needed now to halt the Tories’ Housing Act that will be implemented from April next year. It will see central government levy a charge on local authorities for a proportion of the value of their housing stock, regardless of whether it has been sold off or not.

This will pressure them to sell it.

Great damage will have been done by the time of the next scheduled general election in 2020.

Labour-led councils must take the initiative to defy the act. Chair of Defend Council Housing Eileen Short told Socialist Worker, “Demands for council housing are back at the centre of the fight against austerity and the housing crisis.

“It’s also a result of the deep political shift which is going on in society and the persistent campaigning which won’t let council housing go.”

Axe the Housing Act is holding a summit of councillors, tenants and campaigners opposed to the Housing and Planning Act on 22 October at Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9BD. Go to bit.ly/2dmyqKY

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