Tories driving workers out of London

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TWO sets of statistics were issued last Thursday, statistics that prove conclusively what every worker in London and the big cities in England and Wales have known for years, that working class families and young people are being deliberately driven out of their homes by the government – a form of social cleansing.

Statistics published by the Ministry of Justice reveal that in the first three months of this year the number of tenants evicted from their homes reached a six year high.

In this period alone bailiffs forcibly evicted more than 11,000 families, an increase of 8% on the same period last year and 51% higher than in 2010.

42,000 families were evicted from rental accommodation in 2014, the highest number since records began in 2000, and this year is well on course to break this record. 126 families are forced out of their homes every day!

About half of these evictions were in London where the average rent for a two-bedroom home is £2,216 a month.

The other set of figures released the same day underline the fact that this scandal is a result of all the austerity cuts inflicted by the government. 59,000 households have had their benefits cut through capping in the past two years.

With wages cut through years of pay freezes and the dramatic rise in low paid zero-hour contracts no worker can afford these rents which are rocketing into the stratosphere in London and other main cities.

To these can be added the massive extension of benefit sanctions – the widespread practice of withholding benefits for the most trivial infringement of the rules inflicted on the unemployed by job centres – and the bedroom tax.

All these cuts are earmarked by the new Tory government to be increased to fulfil the Tory pledge to the bankers to cut welfare spending by a further £12 billion.

Not just avaricious private landlords are engaged in the wholesale eviction of tenants who can’t afford the sky high rents they demand.

64% of claims for repossession were made by social landlords and housing associations, who are blaming the bedroom tax and benefit cuts as the main cause of forcing them to start eviction procedures.

Some of these evictions by housing associations and local councils have a much more mercenary objective, especially in London and the South East.

In Brixton tenants in the Loughborough Park Estate, which is owned by the Guinness housing association, are fighting attempts to evict them wholesale in order that the estate can be torn down and replaced with luxury homes and apartments, commanding massive rents and purchasing prices way beyond anything workers and even the middle class can afford.

It has been calculated that in a few years at the present rate on price increases, the cost of an average house in London will be over £1million.

Tenants across London are fighting back with mass demonstrations to physically stop evictions and occupations of estates threatened with demolition.

They are up against a Tory government that is determined to make cities like London completely working class free and turn them into enclaves strictly for Russian oligarchs and Saudi royalty with workers only permitted in to carry out the jobs necessary to keep the city running, after which they can be sent back to exist in slums far away from sight and sound.

Every eviction must be fought and stopped. Tenants must form Councils of Action in every area to unite workers, youth and trade unions to stop all evictions and rent increases through mass strikes, mass pickets and the mass occupation of threatened estates to keep all bailiffs and other state agents out.

These Councils of Action must defend every gain made in the past and prevent the destruction of every social service from hospitals to schools.

Above all they must revolutionise the trade unions, to bring forward a new leadership in the TUC, to respond to the Tory onslaught by calling a revolutionary general strike to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers government and socialism.