Sunday, 27 December 2015

Then the question arises – where will we live?


If the Housing and Planning Bill is designed – as we know it is – not to provide affordable housing but to remove the obligation to build it;

If the Bill is designed not to build homes for the people who need them but to subsidise private investment in housing with public money;

If the Bill is designed not to help renters onto the property ladder but to lose more homes for social rent under the Right to Buy;

If the Bill is designed to sell off ‘high value’ council homes to the rich and not replace them for the poor;

If the Bill is designed not to free up social housing for those who need it but to raise existing rents to market rates for people who cannot afford them;

If the Bill is designed to demolish existing housing estates under the cloak of regeneration and replace them with starter homes for the rich;

If the Bill is designed to end secure tenancies, not in order to reflect social mobility but to free up property for private sale or demolition;

If the Bill is designed not to alleviate the housing ‘crisis’ but to end social housing in this country, and in doing so drive hundreds of thousands of people into an even further inflated private rental market, temporary accommodation and homelessness;

Then the question arises – where will we live?

Where will the poor live?

Where will those with disabilities live?

Where will the elderly and the vulnerable live?

Where will those on low incomes live?

Where will those on zero-hour contracts live?

Where will the key workers live?

Where will the nurses and firemen and teachers live?

Where will the cleaners and carers live?

Where will the workers live?

Where will the double-income families on the minimum wage live?

Where will the students and unemployed youth live?

Where will those refused housing benefit live?

Where will the single mothers live?

Where will the women and children escaping domestic abuse live?

Where will the unemployed live?

Where will those on sickness benefits live?

Where will those who depend on the support of their community to survive live?

Where will those who need care live?

Where will those now in temporary accommodation live?

Where will the people evicted from their homes live?

Where will the communities whose estates have been demolished live?

Where will the homeless live?

Where will those who cannot afford private rents live?

Where will those who cannot afford a mortgage live?

Where will those whose parents can’t put a deposit on a home live?

Where will those who weren’t born into privilege and security and wealth live?

Where will the working classes live?

Where will the people of Britain live?

To answer this question, we should consider the Housing and Planning Bill, not in isolation but in relation to the other legislation passed by this government:

To the cuts to housing, unemployment and disability benefits;

To the attacks on the trades unions, workers’ rights and working tax credits;

To the introduction of compulsory labour for the unemployed;

To the privatisation of our National Health Service, railways, mail, banks, schools, prisons, police force and other publicly owned assets;

To the selling off of our public land, industries and services to private investors;
To the dismantling of the welfare state and its replacement with state sanctioned powers in the service of private corporations;

To the removal of our human rights and civil liberties in the name of protecting our freedom.

If we consider this wave of legislation, then the answer to the question of where we will live must also consider the possibility that everything in the Housing and Planning Bill points to the conclusion that we will end up living in the workhouse.

It is the possibility of this answer that we should consider carefully when confronting the consequences of this Bill and what we must do to oppose it.

Simon Elmer - Architects for Social Housing

No comments:

The Socialist Way

Blog Archive