New Communist Party of Britain
This is just one section of the Main Political Resolution adopted at the 2009 16th Congress of the New Communist Party of Britain.
An index to the other sections can be found here -> [2009 Policy Documents]
Britain has a housing crisis with 100,000 households in bed and breakfast accommodation and 1.7 million households or four million people on council waiting lists. The reason is that housing is now regarded as a source of profit by the ruling class. They have banned councils from taking out loans to build new houses; stopped meaningful action to return more than 700,000 empty homes to occupation and starved councils of cash to maintain the existing council housing stock. This manipulation of housing has pushed up rents and house prices, resulting in councils having to housepeople in unsuitable temporary accommodation. It also introduces fear of defaulting, especially on mortgages where there is a risk of becoming homeless, thus discouraging workers from taking industrial action. In effect the ruling class is using housing as a weapon in the class struggle.
Homeless people are not the only people who need council houses. There are plenty of young people still with their parents because they can’t afford their own home. The proportion of men aged 25−29 living with their parents has risen to 29 per cent from 19 per cent in 1991.
To satisfy this need councils should be allowed to build council houses. But the opposite is happening. The Government is forcing councils to spend a fortune on trying to convince their council tenants to vote to sell their roofs over their heads to housing associations and private landlords. This is nothing but the privatisation of social housing. The increase in private landlordism in the buy−to−let boom, of people seeking a way to invest money in the capitalist crisis. It has has led to fractured neighbourhoods due to the turnover of tenants for various reasons, and the neglect of properties which could well lead to the slums like those of the past.
With household growth at 223,000 a year, the Government has promised to raise new building by the private sector from 180,000 homes in 2006 to 200,000 by 2016. In 1951, the Tories took two years to increase housing by by 100,000 gross, in the 1960s. Labour’s aim in the 1960s of increasing housing by 500,000 houses a year gross was not achieved, but it did manage a peak of 425,000 new houses in 1968. The present Government has set itself a target of 10 years to raise home building by 20,000.. The Government review of housing supply in 2004 found that during the last 30 years of the 20th century, housebuilding rates halved while demand for new homes increased by a third.
Privatisation means higher rents and service charges, less security and unaccountable landlords. Council workers lose their jobs or are transferred to the private sector, consultants get fat bonuses, banks make big profits from the supply of funds to finance the transfer of houses from the council to the new private owners.
The three million council tenants and their families, the millions more living in temporary or overcrowded accommodation, and all those priced out of the private sector, would benefit from increased investment to improve existing and build new council housing.
The NCP calls for the −
end the sale of council housing;
councils to be allowed to build decent affordable, secure and accountable council housing, backed by Government borrowing;
councils to be given more rights to manage empty houses;
councils be allowed to use the surplus in their housing revenue accounts to enhance the management and maintenance of council housing;
Housing Association stock should be brought under council ownership;
Oppose the marketisation of all housing rents.