Defend Council Housing – Bring Down The Brown Government


FOR SOME time Labour has been promoting the theme that the very idea of a job for life is reactionary, and has been glorifying its theory of ‘globalisation’.

This is that, if an employer can find workers anywhere in the world who will accept less money and work for longer hours, then that employer has a duty to shut down his plant in the UK, and move on.

Behind this smokescreen Labour has refused to act to save jobs at Rover and at countless other plants and factories.

We however know that there is an exception to this golden rule. There is one class whose jobs must be assured indefinitely and at whatever the cost required, according to Labour. This class is of course the bankers on whom Labour has lavished untold billions, propping up their bankrupt system.

Now, faced with raising the vast costs of propping up banks, Labour is developing its no jobs for life philosophy, and is considering decreeing that there can be no such thing as a council house for life, and that all secure tenancies must be abolished.

This is to raise some of the costs of bailing out the banks through raising rents and also to provide homes for the middle classes who are being repossessed in large numbers, by evicting workers, so that Labour can keep the middle class vote.

Yesterday the government did not deny that this was the case. It issued a statement that: ‘We recognise that housing professionals like the CIH have made a case for reform in the social housing sector. As new Housing Minister, Margaret Beckett is currently considering all the evidence and arguments in favour of changes to the current system, however she has not taken any decisions on measures that may form part of a reform package. We expect to be in a position to signal how we intend to take this forward in the New Year.’

The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) is proposing to ‘free up housing’.

They want secure tenancies done away with and replaced with fixed term tenancies that can be regularly reviewed and means tested so that if wages go up, rents go up, and if the tenant won’t pay they can be ‘encouraged’ to either buy their council house or move to new property that they can now allegedly afford.

Construction union UCATT told News Line: ‘The government should not proceed with such plans.’ Alan Ritchie, General Secretary of UCATT, said: ‘If enacted these plans would destroy the fundamental principles of council housing, that tenants are provided with secure affordable high quality homes.’

CIH Director of Policy and Practice, Richard Capie, said: ‘Social housing should no longer be populated by a majority of people unable to progress in their housing and wider aspirations. Instead it should be a unique opportunity – a two-way, flexible stepping stone that responds to changes in people’s lives and that is better linked to private, shared, low cost or full home ownership,’ concluded Mr Capie.

Council housing is not to be a home for life for workers but a stepping stone for the middle class, now facing repossession and unable to pay its mortgage. To provide this stepping stone the working class family is to be reviewed and evicted.

Capie wants ‘Flexible tenure and Housing Review. For existing tenants, a system of regular review every few years could run through whether someone’s circumstances had changed to allow them to take up a different part of the “offer”. . .

‘We propose moving towards a system of flexible tenure in which all new lets can be reviewed after set period of time. This would represent a fundamental shift away from the majority of current lets that provide a largely static tenancy for life.’

The working class will defend its ‘largely static tenancy for life’ to the end.

Workers must tell their trade unions that if Labour proceeds with this plan in the New Year, the Brown government must be brought down and replaced by a workers government.

• See special photo feture from Palestine ‘The ugly faces of occupation’