How come Britain, the world’s fifth most prosperous country, is failing to provide its people with decent homes? Housing is a vital provision for everyone. It’s the basis on which the quality of our lives depends. It impacts on our health and wellbeing, whatever our age.
The Tory Housing Bill and what’s happening to housing in Britain today will be the subject of the ILP’s next Unbalanced Britain meeting in Leeds on Saturday 5 March with Dr Quintin Bradley, senior lecturer in planning and housing at Leeds Beckett University, Fabian Hamilton, Labour MP for Leeds North East and author of Building Homes For Britain, and Ellen Robottom from Hands off our Homes.
It is widely recognised that Britain today faces a severe housing crisis. Our politicians acknowledge something is amiss, yet the government’s housing policies make matters worse for the majority while serving the interests of the few. It is selling off social housing owned by local authorities and housing associations. Far from delivering solutions, it is adding to people’s suffering, as the coalition did with the infamous bedroom tax.
All this shows that there’s something is profoundly wrong with how our society is working: how unbalanced Britain is today.
- We have a generation of young people who cannot afford to buy homes and a growing shortage of social housing.
- We have rocketing house prices which enrich the rich and price many families out.
- We have landlords who regularly raise rents and who are heavily subsidised by the state.
- We see private sector building companies hoarding land to ensure they make bigger profits rather than building homes upon it sooner.
- We have serious and growing levels of homelessness and tens of thousands of children living in temporary accommodation.
- We have lots of properties which are empty but still making pots of money for their owners.
Housing should not depend simply on income but upon need; the need for secure basis to raise a family, to enter the world of work, to be able to retire. Much of the housing that is available is inadequate in many ways. The UK’s houses and flats are smaller than those in other parts of western Europe. For many families, overcrowding is a real problem.
This situation is deeply unjust and exposes a moral, political and economic failure of massive proportions. We need a movement that challenges this unacceptable state of affairs. One is certainly growing but the message needs widening and deepening. We need political parties that can get to grips with the real issues rather than politicians posing in hard hats calling themselves the ‘builders’.
Housing has become a defining issue of our time. How best can we meet the challenge it presents in our efforts to build a good society?
To be part of the discussion, join the ILP on Saturday 5 March for the latest in our series of Unbalanced Britain meetings.
What: Unbalanced Britain: Housing in Crisis
When: 11.00am-4.00pm, Saturday 5 March
Where: Room 408, The Rose Bowl, Leeds Beckett University, Portland Crescent, Leeds LS1 3HB
Who: Speakers to include Dr Quintin Bradley, senior lecturer in planning and housing at Leeds Beckett University; Fabian Hamilton, Labour MP for Leeds North East; Ellen Robottom from Hands Off Our Homes.
The event is free but you do need to book in advance by 27 February. Lunch will be £4 (pay on the day).
Click here to read about previous meetings in the ILP’s Unbalanced Britain series.