Action Needed Now Over Housing Crisis!


HOMELESSNESS among households in England has risen by 54 per cent since 2010 – rising annually every year – shows the latest report by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

It also reveals 57,750 households were accepted as homeless by their local council in the past year, up 6 per cent from 2015’s figure of 54,430.

Households that became homeless in London increased 9 per cent to 17,530 in the last year alone. In the rest of England, 38,570 households became homeless, an increase of 5 per cent since last year.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, condemned these ‘shocking figures’ saying: ‘Sky-high housing costs mean that every day at Shelter we hear from families struggling to keep their heads above water, knowing that just a small change in income could send them spiralling towards homelessness.’

He added: ‘We’re here to help people when the worst happens, but we can’t do this alone. Sadly, it is those already living on a financial knife-edge who suffer the most when the country hits uncertain times, so it’s vital the government makes sure families can get the support they need to keep a roof over their heads.’

His appeal to the crisis-ridden Tory government, currently being propped up by Labour’s right wing mutineers, is in vain.

In fact the UK housing crisis and huge wealth gap in the major cities played a big role in drumming up the 17 million plus votes to leave the European Union.

Under former London Mayor, Boris Johnson, central London has seen a massive building of luxury skyscrapers at its centre, mostly unoccupied and bought by speculators as investments.

This has driven rents sky-high, forcing workers out of the city or onto the streets.

This has even been recognised by John Healey, former Labour Shadow Secretary of State for Housing and Planning, who has just walked out of Corbyn’s shadow cabinet.

He has observed: ‘The gap between haves and have-nots was the breeding ground for Brexit, and these new figures today show that the number of homeless households has risen by an astonishing 54 per cent since 2010.’

Labour councils, also opponents of Brexit, have played a big role in this creation of an army of homeless people. They have been demolishing council estates and selling off the land to private developers.

The situation has now reached desperate breaking point.

Westminster Homeless Action Together on 7th June appealed for more than 200 volunteers that were needed in Westminster to help the street homeless.

It declares as part of community action week: (10-17 July 2016) ‘200 compassionate volunteers who live or work in Westminster are needed to take part in a week-long community event in July to help people sleeping rough in the borough.

‘Westminster has more people sleeping rough than any borough in the country. A total of 2,570 people slept rough there during 2014-15, with around 300 people contacted by outreach teams during March this year.

‘With numbers rising, there’s no more urgent time than now to galvanise that energy and involve the Westminster community to help those people, sometimes literally, on their doorstep.’

However, there is only one way to resolve the housing crisis and the massive and growing numbers of homeless.

This is, with the Tories reeling from their referendum disaster, for Labour to demand a general election now!

It must bring forward a programme for the expropriation of all of the thousands of luxury apartments, that are lying empty as investments for the rich in London and other cities, to be expropriated to house the homeless.

The building industry, the building land and the banks must be nationalised so that a national programme for building millions of council homes, at rents that workers can afford, can be organised.

The TUC and the trade unions, that are currently looking on while the Blairites are seeking one way or another to mount their coup to help the crisis-ridden Tories, must now take action to defend the homeless.

They must tell the right wing mutineers that if they do not end their coup attempt, the unions will support their de-selection as MPs so that the real business of forcing a general election to house the homeless and provide proper jobs for the unemployed can take place.