Thousands march against Housing Bill
Thousands of people marched through London on Sunday against the Tory government’s plans to destroy council housing through enforced sales, higher rents and elimination of secure tenancies.
Report Paul Feldman / photos Peter Arkell
The Housing Bill is in its final stages in Parliament and is being fiercely opposed by campaign groups. Jeremy Corbyn has organised Labour’s rejection of the Bill.
Under the proposed changes, the government will take the power to set the levels of rent local authorities must charge those who are designated "high income social tenants".
Households with an income of more than £30,000 will find their rents soar while those with higher earnings will face full market rents which in London can easily reach £1,500-£2,000 a month.
Housing associations have agreed to a voluntary scheme to allow their tenants to buy homes at a discount. To finance this, the government will force local authorities to sell off their most valuable homes and hand the proceeds to housing associations.
As a result, there will be fewer affordable homes to rent in the most expensive areas to live, while the sold-off properties will not be replaced.
The Tories also plan to abolish lifetime tenancies in council houses. Those who need a council house in the future will be offered tenancy contracts of between two and five years. At the end of the tenancy, it will be reviewed by council officials.
If they conclude that you no longer need council housing, and could buy a property or rent in the private market, they will end your tenancy.
The Bill as a whole is a form of social cleansing, say opponents. People will be driven out of their homes and be made worse off. Welcome to Cameron’s Britain.
14 March 2016