Austin Mitchell MP, chair of the council housing group of MPs, chaired an MPs’ inquiry session as part of a fringe meeting at Labour’s spring conference last week.
The session was in support of the call for a “fourth option” of direct investment in council housing.
He began by looking at each of Labour’s six pledges, and asked what any of them would really mean to people when they had no security in housing.
The inquiry heard reports from campaigns all over the country of communities fighting to protect council housing. There are now 159 local authorities that are still holding out against any form of privatisation.
The newest form of attack is the demolition of council estates. In Birmingham, for example, the suggestion is to demolish 20,000 homes in order to renovate the remaining 60,000.
On the Saturday afternoon of the Labour conference a reference was made to affordable housing and one of the delegates held up a Defend Council Housing leaflet. They were promptly surrounded by security.
There was a real feeling at the meeting that we were nearing the end and if we keep the campaign going the government will be forced to concede the fourth option.
There will be another MPs’ evidence session at the House of Commons, 12-4pm, 8 March