|The News Line: Editorial
Saturday, 11 March 2017
Tories abolish youth housing benefit! Resolve the housing crisis with a socialist revolution!
THE TORIES have stepped up their war on youth, pushing through legislation last Friday which strips all young unemployed people under the age of 21 of housing benefit.
This vicious move will force youth to either live at home or live on the streets. From 1st of April, 18 to 21-year-olds will lose their entitlement to housing benefit, meaning that those who are currently getting housing benefit will be immediately kicked off. This is no April Fools’ joke. The gravity of the situation facing young renters is immediate – eviction and homelessness.
Kate Webb, head of policy for homeless charity Shelter said: ‘It’s a real worry – there is no way this isn’t going to lead to an increase in rough sleeping.’ John Healy, Labour MP for Wentworth and Dearne, asked an Urgent Question in parliament on ‘the impact on homelessness of the government’s plans to remove automatic entitlement to housing benefit for 18 to 21-year-olds’.
The Tory Under-Secretary of State for Welfare Delivery, Caroline Nokes, replied: ‘This policy removes a perverse incentive for young adults to leave the family home and pass the cost on to the taxpayer. This is about stopping young people slipping straight into a life on benefits, and it brings parity with young people who are in work but who may not be able to leave the family home, while an unemployed young person can do so.’
So the cat is out of the bag – whether a young person is working or not, neither he nor she will be able to afford to rent. Equality under the Tories means that both will get an equal kick in the teeth! No matter if you work five, six or even seven days a week, young people are not paid enough to cover the cost of their council tax, gas, electricity, water, rent and food as well.
Caroline Nokes was then asked twice why the impact assessment of the Tory policy had not been released, to which she replied: ‘There is no duty on us to share the impact assessment with the House.’ The impact of this policy is a state secret! Why? The answer is obvious because it will result in masses of young people ending up sleeping on park benches, on the night buses, or in sleeping bags on the streets.
Rents have spiralled out of control. Ruthless landlords are evicting people on a daily basis. Council housing is being demolished and private houses for the rich are being built. Families are being evicted from London boroughs, thrown on the streets and told that they can only be re-housed in Basildon, Milton Keynes or Luton.
London, under the heel of the Tories, is becoming the preserve of the rich, with a smattering of workers forced to commute into London daily to service the needs of the ruling class. However, as the EU referendum showed, the working class and the youth will not be driven back to the slum housing conditions of the pre-1945 era.
Already the working class and an entire generation of youth are rising up and they will not be denied a future under socialism by a degenerate ruling class. The modern working class is rallying to the defence of families facing eviction, by barricading the balconies and fighting off the bailiffs. Workers defence squads have begun to spring up to barricade the entrance of council estates, physically stopping the bulldozers from entering.
Unions like the RMT have begun to defy the capitalist state. Make no mistake – the working class is on the move, and it requires a revolutionary leadership. The current leaders of the Labour Party and the trade union movement refuse to organise any serious action in defence of council housing or to stop privatisation and mass evictions – meanwhile homelessness, particularly amongst the youth, is soaring.
The entire weight of the working class must be mobilised to put an end to the Tories and their mass evictions. This means the TUC must be made to call a general strike, bringing this country to a grinding halt. Such a move will undoubtedly bring this government down.
The housing question, however, cannot be resolved without resolving the question of ownership – which boils down to which class rules. The truth is that the only way to resolve the housing crisis is through a socialist revolution that expropriates the bosses, brings in a workers government and a planned socialist economy and marches forward to socialism!
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