Housing Emergency - Time for an Alternative

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Government is fuelling a housing emergency, with an all-out attack on tenants and council housing. With house building collapsing, mortgages unaffordable, and private rents rising, Government is forcing up rents, attacking secure tenancies, and drastically cutting housing benefit. Homeless applications and rough sleeping are already rising, and there are 4.5 million people on housing waiting lists. 1.3 million private tenants face homelessness or debt (Chartered Institute of Housing), and 7 million report using credit to pay for their home last year (Shelter). Government’s housing measures do not have an electoral mandate. They will create more evictions, homelessness and fear, but will not curb high rents. They do nothing to create secure, affordable homes for rent desperately needed for all those who are priced out by the housing market. They will create exclusion zones driving out the low-paid, the sick and the poor, and their families. We call on Councillors, MPs, tenant and trade union organisations, housing, disability and poverty campaigners and all who want sustainable, mixed communities across the UK to join in a campaign around these Action points: 1. Resist and campaign against cuts in housing benefit: we call on Councillors and other landlords not to evict tenants who fall behind with their rent as a result of the new cuts in housing benefit. 2. Reject huge council rent rises driven by government debt and inflation formula. 3. Oppose the use of so-called "Affordable Rent", in fact unaffordable and insecure, with near-market rents and time-limited tenancies. 4. No scapegoating: The shortage of housing is a result of underinvestment and failure to build. It is not caused by existing or would-be tenants in work or not, of whatever race or religion. 5. Defend security of tenure for existing and future tenants. 6. Regulation to control private sector rents. 7. A programme of investment in new and improved council and other house building at genuinely-affordable rents. It’s time to stand together, in a united, determined campaign to stop these attacks and demand investment in the homes we need: secure, accountable and genuinely affordable.

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