The housing crisis in Britain is getting worse. In London and many other areas of the country house prices have soared making it impossible for most workers to buy their own home. In the private sector rents are exorbitant and tenants forced to accept short-term lets with no security. Yet in other areas houses lie empty and people cannot sell their homes.
Across the country there is a chronic shortage of social housing and a rise in homelessness while landlords and property developers profit from the crisis.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has put many more people at risk of eviction through rent arrears and exposed the level of overcrowding in housing that make quarantine difficult.
Left Unity calls for a massive expansion of the publicly owned and democratically controlled housing sector, and for social housing to be allocated according to need. This strategic and sustained programme of building social housing must be to the standards of universal design and accessibility.
New council or social housing building and refurbishment programmes can be funded by government at very low interest rates. We will end the ‘right to buy’. Renovation of the existing housing stock to make it energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable lies at the heart of our programme of green investment. Council debts should be written off.
A new publicly owned building corporation should be set up employing workers on permanent contracts to implement this.
Rent controls and better standards
Left Unity would reintroduce rent controls and security of tenure as used to exist in Britain and still exist in parts of the European Union such as Germany, and support the creation of tenants’ cooperatives to run estates.
Local authorities should be given new powers of inspection and regulation of private rentals to ensure they are up to standard.
No evictions, no homelessness
We campaign for accommodation in genuinely affordable housing for all and would take measures to assist and protect from eviction those households trapped by debts or with mortgages they are unable to repay.
We support renters’ unions and the campaigns to abolish the bedroom tax and in support of tenants fighting the threat of mass eviction and social cleansing, driving people out of inner-city areas.
We would reverse cuts in emergency accommodation for homeless people and maintain housing rights and benefits for the under-25s that are under threat from the government.
Left Unity would also use compulsory acquisition powers to take over vacant properties and legalise the squatting of empty property.
Planning and Land
The planning system must be reformed, with nationalisation of development rights, the introduction of mandatory housing standards, and a new National Spatial Plan. No more public land to be transferred to the private sector.
Left Unity is active in movements and campaigns across the left, working to create an alternative to the main political parties.
Events and protests from around the movement, and local Left Unity meetings.
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