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Monday, 15 June 2015

Defend Council Housing's Tenants and Housing Summit, Report 1

The Tenants and Housing Summit organised by Defend Council Housing (DCH) and Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) took place on Saturday 13 June in Central London,
"to resist Government attacks on council housing, tenants and benefits. A 'summit' for all those fighting for rent control and the homes we need."(1) Its agenda and prospectus are/were set out in a leaflet appearing on the Defend Council Housing website.(2)

Benefits Justice's Report on the Summit, by Eileen and Kate

Notes on 13 June Tenants and Housing summit (organised by Defend Council Housing and Disabled People Against the Cuts in central London)
Around 120 people attended, from organisations incl. DCH, DPAC, Housing Justice, Radical Housing Network, Radical Assembly, TUSC, Trade Unionists for Housing, Young GMB, Unite Community, NUT, Bolton Against Bedroom Tax, Generation Rent and various London borough campaigns

Action plan agreed:
*a housing bloc on the Peoples Assembly London march 20 June: assemble 1 Poultry opposite Bank of England 12 noon
*25 July national day of local actions for housing and against benefit cuts and bedroom tax
*a campaign against the extension of Right-to-Buy to housing associations financed by open market sale of council homes
* A national London march for Housing and Homes (date to be agreed)
  • housing campaigns, hustings and lobbying aimed at Scottish, Welsh, London and other local elections 2016

Other actions
  • 16 and 22 June: lobbies of Hackney council (was going to fine rough sleepers £1000 - petition and protest made them drop it)
  • 16 June Trade Unionists for Housing: 6.30pm GMB HQ Young London - open meeting on housing
  • 16 June 6.30pm Radical Housing Network: ‘What would a rent strike look like?’, Brick Lane
  • 18 June meeting on housing Unite offices Holborn
  • DPAC: short March for London 20 June; meet 1.30pm opposite Downing St
  • 26 June DPAC campaign against introduction of psychological therapies into Job Centres march on Streatham Job Centre. Meet 1.30 Streatham Memorial Gardens SW16 (Pilot project to bring CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) into… Continue Reading Stop Forced Treatments 26th June 1.30 Streatham
  • 2 July Westminster Hall - Labour London mayor candidates hustings - challenge on housing
  • 10 October: People’s Assembly and Unite Community conference on housing
  • Bolton 1st Sat of every month: Wake-up Bolton (+ Wigan etc) - open mic events in city centres
  • stopping evictions: use all legal means, bailiffs have limited power, peacefully refuse to leave; but law on landlord’s side so build anti-eviction networks (many already set up);
  • need broad national movement for homes, including private tenants’ union;
  • estate demolitions/loss of homes: lobby and negotiate with councils + direct action + confront developers + Waltham Forest Trades Council organised ballot of residents
  • new Right to Buy: serious attack than can be beaten.Statement being drawn up - paper and on-line petition - as focus for campaign; force Labour councils to resist selling valuable properties; organise with housing associations and tenants groups (leader of Southwark council has come out saying he wants to oppose it)
  • include refugees/migrants/asylum seekers in fight for homes;
  • Cambridge Trades Council - target letting agents for flash protest; build campaign to occupy empty properties
  • Southwark Benefit Justice: job centre protests linking up with PCS
  • homeless camp taking place in Manchester


(1) Defend Council Housing homepage accessed Monday 15 June. http://defendcouncilhousing.org.uk/dch/
(2) Tenants and Housing Summit 13 June e-leaflet, accessed Monday 15 June.  http://www.defendcouncilhousing.org.uk/dch/resources/Benefitsworkshop13juneweb.pdf

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