This union needs to campaign for affordable housing

Affordable housing has been on many people’s lips for a while now. The soaring price of private rentals in conjunction with the economic crisis is financially crippling people. Yet this Government clearly doesn’t care or want to do anything about it.

There are some fantastic organisations and charities doing work to highlight the issue, but not enough work is being done to support them. At a recent TUC Young Workers Forum meeting held in Bristol, we heard from a number of organisations – One being Acorn, who act as a community union and trains reps’ to help people with their private renting issues. Reports made by tenants about their landlords’ are terrifying, most showing that many private landlords are unscrupulous; with many comments being made anonymously for fear of Revenge Evictions’.

It’s clear that there is a lack of information and advice available and confusion amongst tenants who don’t know their rights. But similarly, a total lack of any regulation or legislation to protect tenants from bad landlords. This is why branches should look at supporting local housing unions in their area, such as Acorn.

I’m proud to say the CWU Youth is starting to lead the discussion with the TUC and other trade unions and beginning to start a coordinated campaign on affordable housing. We need a hard hitting, visible and coordinated campaign to really make the issue one that can’t be ignored.

Generation RentIn addition to our campaign and especially in the run up to the general election, politicians looking for our vote need to be challenged and asked “What are you doing about the issue of affordable housing?”. There are many policies proposed to help control and regulate the private rental sector being proposed by a number of organisations (such as Generation Rent, who we heard from at conference), but we need politicians to take note and make housing an issue in their manifesto. So in addition to any campaign, we need to hold the politicians to account. Young people’s voices should be heard and gives all the more need to register to vote this year.

Housing MotionI’m excited to see that a motion calling for an affordable housing campaign, passed at youth conference this year, was selected at to be moved on behalf of the Youth Committee at General Conference. Hopefully, this will be the start of that campaign to put the discussion firmly on the priorities list of the CWU and hope you all look for and support the motion being moved by the Youth Committee at general conference.

We need motions, events and publicity to the problems faced by many millions of people, young and old.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics show clearly, that stricter mortgage criteria, rising rents and higher unemployment means more people are force to live with their parents.

Rent Freedom Day

The 4th Feb is known as Rent Freedom Day, an initiative from Generation Rent – who some will recall held a workshop at Youth Conference this year.

CWU Youth National Officer will be taking part in a Unions in Housing Justice session – how unions and their members are engaging in the campaign for housing justice. 11am to 5pm 4 February, at Westminster, London.

To register to attend: visit

Rent Freedom day