Labour rent proposals don’t go far enough. Only TUSC has real solutions to housing crisis

Today Labour has called for caps on rent increases and an ending for excessive tenancy fees.
But Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidates have said these proposals don’t go far enough.
Waltham Forest TUSC candidate Nancy Taaffe said: “People stuck in the rip off private rent sector will of course welcome any capping on the money being stolen off them by extortionate landlords.
“However Labour’s proposals don’t go anywhere near far enough and have been made long after TUSC candidates have been calling for rent controls.
“Since the start of the year Waltham Forest TUSC has been campaigning for the return of rent controls. Today, when challenged by the Tories, Labour made clear that it would not bring back rent controls.
“Was the housing situation worse when there were rent controls before 1989? No, it was far better due to the combination of capped rents in the private sector and a higher availability of council housing.”
“Both Labour and the Tories support profiteering from housing through the expansion of private letting and privatisation of social housing. Only TUSC candidates have real solutions for the housing crisis.”
Lewisham TUSC mayoral candidate Chris Flood said: “When I was a Lewisham Socialist Party councillor I led a successful campaign to stop the Labour council’s privatisation of council housing in Telegraph Hill.
“The New Labour governments are as much to blame for the current housing crisis as the Tories. The Blair and Brown governments and Labour councils pushed through the privatisation of council housing through housing associations, arms-length management organisations and private finance initiatives.
“They said tenants had to vote for one of these options to get their homes maintained. In reality privatisation means rents will increase and accountability will fall. Less cash goes to upkeep as more goes into shareholders’ back pockets.
“In Telegraph Hill we told tenants there was fourth option – properly funded, well maintained council housing. And that’s what they voted for.”
Newham TUSC mayoral candidate Lois Austin said: “In Newham there is compulsory landlord registration. But this hasn’t stopped people sleeping in sheds and garages. This hasn’t stopped the cost of renting from ballooning. We need rent controls and rent councils – affordable rents with democratic accountability.
“And we also need a crash programme of home construction to build truly affordable council housing – not 80% of the extortionate private market rates.
“Today many labour councillors are themselves profiteering Landlords, so whose side do you think they’re really on?”
TUSC councillors would build a mass campaign to win:
Rent control: Stop rip off landlords! A cap on rents in the private sector to bring private rents in line with social housing rents. Councils should have a compulsory register of private landlords – they should refuse to issue a license to landlords letting overcrowded, poor quality housing at rip-off rents. They could also set up a council-run, not-for-profit letting agency.
Rent councils: The government’s definition of ‘affordable’ means nothing to most of us. The council could establish committees of housing workers, tenants and the local trade unions to set the rents.
House-building and renovation: Use the council’s reserves and borrowing powers to build and renovate enough decent quality social housing for all those who want it and campaign for the government to divert its private developer subsidy to a mass programme of building social housing.
Bring all housing association stock and housing services back in-house: Privatisation has driven up costs. You can’t control what you don’t own. The council should run all social housing and housing services itself for the best value and accountability to the community.
Axe the bedroom tax: The bedroom tax is forcing the poorest and most vulnerable out of their homes. The council should immediately stop the implementation of the tax and associated eviction proceedings, as well as fully restore council tax benefit.

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