Thousands of Londoners will march on City Hall next Saturday (31 January) to demand an end to the housing crisis which is blighting the lives of many of the poorest people living in the capital.
With its out-of-control house market, rocketing rents and disappearing social housing, London is fast becoming a no-go area for anyone but the ultra-rich, and organisations behind the March for Homes are demanding a series of policy changes to solve the crisis, including:
- rent controls
- an end to the demolition of quality council homes
- an end to the bedroom tax and welfare caps
- a national programme of council house building
- decent pay and conditions for housing and care workers.
The campaign was launched by Defend Council Housing, South London People’s Assembly and Unite Housing Workers’ branch with an open letter that calls on London Mayor Boris Johnson and London councils “to start building the thousands of new council homes we need, control private rents and stop the demolition of homes currently threatening over 50 estates”.
The letter has been signed by Labour MPs Diane Abbott, John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn, plus film maker Ken Loach, and members of housing campaign organisations, such as Generation Rent, Towers Tenant Action Group and Save the Sutton Estate, Chelsea.
“Government policies are stoking up the housing crisis blighting the lives of Londoners, with subsidies to lenders and developers, while tenants’ rights are undermined,” says the letter.
“Over 344,000 are on council waiting lists. The average house price is 16 times the average Londoner’s salary. Expensive, insecure and often poor quality private renting has become the only option for a quarter of us.
“Private property developers are driving policy of Ministers and the London Mayor, building homes that few can afford, while many are forced to move out of the city. Our broken housing policy is damaging our communities…
“The March for Homes will be the next step in the growing fight for decent, really-affordable, secure housing for all Londoners. We will ensure that this is an election issue in 2015.”
The action is also supported by a number of London housing campaigns, including Focus E15 Mothers and New Era 4 All whose efforts to defend housing tenants in east London have attracted considerable media coverage in recent months.
The March for Homes will converge on City Hall, on London’s Southbank, near to Tower Bridge, from Shoreditch Church in east London and St Mary’s Churchyard, at the Elephant and Castle in south London. Both marches will assemble at 12 noon.