HOMELESSNESS in rural England has soared by as much as a third between 2012 and 2018, new figures released yesterday have shown. As rich people move in to buy up properties in small towns and villages in the countryside, the cost of renting is spiralling out of control. Locals who have lived there all their lives are being driven out of town, and in many cases onto the streets.
The number of social homes being built in rural England has fallen by more than 80% in the last six years, with just 1,309 social houses built in rural areas in 2017-18, despite hundreds of thousands of people stuck on long waiting lists.
The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) revealed yesterday that ‘social housing’, including housing association and council housing has fallen by 83% between 2011-12 and 2018 in rural areas.
The Tory government is driving thousands of people out of their homes, creating masses of rural homeless.
This has parallels with the infancy of capitalism in the 1700s. The Enclosure Acts passed by Parliament between 1760 and 1820 closed off the common ‘open fields’ and ‘wastes’ where the peasantry grew their fruit and vegetables. In village after village, common rights were lost, and the land put under the control of the farmer. The peasants were driven from the land, driven into the towns and cities to become part of the rapidly growing working class in the huge factories.
Those without work wandered the highways as ‘vagrants’. They were whipped, imprisoned, enslaved, branded like cattle with an R for ‘rogue’ on their shoulder, or a triangular chunk cut from their left ear. Many were ruthlessly executed.
Under modern capitalism, with the destruction of industry, the closure of shipbuilding yards, car factories and steelworks, the working class are again being driven from their homes to wander the streets workless.
From the towns and villages, they are now once more being driven into the big cities, desperate for money.
The capitalist state has washed its hands of homeless people, attacking the right to benefits, labelling people as ‘intentionally homeless’, absolving themselves of any responsibility to re-house them or provide any money whatsoever to keep people alive.
It is the working class, giving money where and when they can, which keeps homeless people alive. And the government are criminalising even that, using the Vagrancy law of 1824 and Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) to fine homeless people up to £1,000 for sleeping rough or asking for money. If they can’t pay, they face jail!
In the big cities, homelessness has become a death sentence. A new Office for National Statistic report has shown homeless deaths have risen by a record 22%.
It has been estimated that 726 homeless people have died in England and Wales in 2018.
That is an enormous 22% rise on the figures for 2017 just a year earlier. The figures are not available for 2019 but they are likely to be even higher.
In Manchester, where the problem is particularly acute, figures suggest 19 people died. This ranks it as the city with the third-highest mortality rate among homeless people in the country.
Birmingham had the highest number of deaths recorded by any local authority in the country with 23 homeless people dying. London had the highest numbers of deaths in 2018, with 148.
The capitalist state has created a mass of people they regard as ‘unemployable’ for whom the state considers it has no responsibility to provide even the most basic means of subsistence – no job – no benefits, no home. As far as the capitalists are concerned, if you cannot make them profit through your labour, you can die on the streets as far as they are concerned!
The mass of homeless people are not a new ‘underclass’. They are unemployed workers who will join in with the mass uprisings, strikes, demonstrations, protests and a general strike as the revolutionary struggle of the working class to take the power develops.
This struggle requires a new leadership, a revolutionary party and that party is the WRP. The capitalist state must be smashed, the ruling class must be overthrown, and the working class must bring in a socialist planned economy.
This is the only way forward!