Remember the Housing & Planning Bill? Well you should.

It was obvious to so many of us in the trade union movement that the new majority Tory government would waste no time in their attack on working class people and hard fought for social benefits. We have clearly seen this with the trade union bill and the attempted raid on work benefits.

However, I am very concerned that in one theatre of this conflict where the Tories are waging this war it is receiving little attention and, although the Labour housing team in parliament is doing its best,much more opposition from the labour and trade union movement is urgently needed. The Housing and Planning Bill is currently going through Parliament and it’s due to have its report stage on the 5th January 2015.

The bill will have a devastating impact on social housing and is a direct attack on the principle of social housing and the right to housing.

The bill includes giving housing association tenants the right to buy their home with the government funding this through the forced sell off of council housing that becomes available in prime areas. This will have a massive impact on the supply of council housing in places like London and Bristol.

The government are also introducing ‘pay to stay’ this where social housing tenants with a household income of over 30k a year will have to pay full market rent for their property, In Bristol this would mean some tenantsrent doubling overnight. A lot of our members who live in social housing could be caught out by this an OPG with a partner that works part time etc. could easily breach the 30k limit.

There are other damaging measures included removing the obligation on developers to build a percentage of affordable housing on new developments. The housing charity Shelter have produced a very useful briefing paper on the Housing and planning outlining the measures and concerns in detail.

As a movement we must up our game and opposition to the measures in this Bill. The recently formed CWU campaign “Housing for all Campaign” will now be at the forefront along with our colleagues in the Labour Party and TUC in opposing the Housing and Planning Bill.

Article compiled by:

Kye Dudd
CWU Bristol & District Amal Branch