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Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Kill the Housing Bill 2016 march report

A report on the Kill the Bill Housing March

Defend Council Housing's Eileen Short
addresses the crowd

Joan writes:

Abby, Joan, Alan1, Aleco and Giselle went to the Kill the Bill Housing march on 13th March 2016. I was very disappointed with the turn out. The usual suspects were all there. That includes our comrades from Unite Community

The turn out was nowhere near are big as it should have been given the importance of the issues. Basically, the Tories are abolishing social housing. John McDonnell turned up and gave a brief speech. Jeremy Corbyn did a no-show. Emily Thornberry read out a statement from him, She was drowned out by a bunch of Troyskyists. Abby asked them to make less noise, but got no joy. The Bill goes back to the House of Lords but is all but passed. I have to say, I felt quite discouraged.

And Alan1 adds: For me, the best thing about it was an opportunity to catch up with old friends and comrades. And while I found participating in conversations with three or more people in parallel at the same time, it was great catching up with people I'd not seen for some time and having one-to-one conversations with them. While it was disappointing in terms of weighing the turnout against the severity of the issue, the lack of congestion on the march helped allow my completion of it.

GeorgeI was there at the start in Lincoln's Inn Fields, though he said at the outset that he doubted he'd be able to make it for the full length of the march. I also met up with a friend I'd known from local Inner London Education Authority-run Community Education Centre days of the 1980's but not seen for quite some years now, along with Martin Francis of Brent Green Party and the Wembley Matters blog.

There were a few Labour Party banners that I spotted, but it would take a real Green Party activist such as Martin Francis to locate Green Party banners. Green Party leader Natalie Bennett also spoke as one of the first speakers. Her speech told of discussions she had just had with a marching mother of a full time student who anticipates the 'pay to stay' burden hitting their family upon the student's graduation. Natalie Bennett also added that this Tory Government is very weak, having recently lost the vote on Sunday Trading through the impact of its own MPs voting against Tory policy. She argued that the nation cannot afford to wait for a 2020 General Election and the Housing Bill should not be allowed to come into law.

The march was also attended by Trade Unionists For Housing, who declare housing a workplace issue.

A speaker from LB Barnet pointed out that many of the changes brought in by the Housing Bill 2016 have already been piloted in LB Barnet. Since Sunday's march there has been a TV documentary broadcast about Barnet residents' objections to being turfed out of their social housing as Tory Barnet has sold off their land to Barratt's the builders. And much as the Housing Bill 2016 trumpets 'Right to Buy' for people in social housing, what would be the point of social housing tenants taking government subsidies to buy their social housing accommodation only for a company such as Barratt's to then have the legal right to demolish that same property?

which helps show how much 'austerity' is being used to lever in fire sales of public assets.

1 comment:

  1. The BBC TV documentary mentioned, "The Estate We're In" is now available on youtube. To access that video, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Usa4-W-Bcu0