Communists in Croydon have published today a pamphlet on the growing housing crisis in the borough, Decent Homes For All: End Croydon’s Housing Crisis Now!
Ben Stevenson, Croydon-based National Secretary of the Communist Party, said, “Local politicians are clearly failing to meet the housing needs of those least able to defend themselves: the poor, the vulnerable and the socially excluded. Meanwhile the number of new houses being built is falling to an all-time low. The only significant building projects that get the green light are those that promise yet more luxury apartments in an attempt to lure high earners away from Central London. An entire generation of people in Croydon are being systematically denied their right to decent affordable housing.”
“This new publication seeks to explain the why and how of Croydon’s housing crisis. Private rents continue to spiral out of control, well above the rate of inflation, while the Tory-led Government’s cuts to Housing Benefit and Local Housing Allowance for tenants in the social and private rented sectors, allied to high unemployment, is creating significant homelessness in Croydon. This publication is just the first step in raising awareness of the issues, starting a genuine debate involving all sections of the local community and mobilising support for local action.”
The supply of social housing in Croydon is woefully inadequate. Years of neglect by the local Tory council, along with central New Labour and Tory Government housing policies, has left Croydon with a smaller housing stock then almost any other London boroughs. Even the Council’s own Housing Strategy admits that Croydon is ill-equipped to meet housing need.
Instead of trying to solve these problems, Croydon council have been spending more and more money providing ‘temporary’ accommodation in B&Bs. Not only are the conditions often cramped and squalid, but children suffer as they have no place to play or do their homework. This is a massive waste of taxpayers’ money.
Mr Stevenson said, “I think this is a shocking indictment of a supposedly civilised society. Britain has the seventh largest economy in the world. We can clearly afford to build decent homes for all who need them. Instead, we are failing those least able to defend themselves. We should be building homes for people. Not forcing them to squeeze in to modern day slums for months at a time.”
The Communist Party invites all local campaigning organisations and housing advocacy groups to take part in a joint campaign to develop a better understanding of the problems faced by Croydon residents, raise awareness of the issues and help develop a local action plan to improve housing provision in the borough.
Mr Stevenson concluded, “Croydon is facing a real housing crisis. Statements by Tory Councillors indicate they neither understand the depth of the problem nor care about the impact on local people. Poor housing is linked to child poverty, family breakdown and mental illness. We need, as a matter of urgency, to campaign for a significant council house building programme, an end to the bedroom tax, an end to council house sales, compulsory requisitioning of long term empty properties and rent controls in the private sector. Only the Communist Party offers these and other progressive policies which matter to ordinary working people.”
Notes to editors:
1. Copies of the pamphlet, Decent Homes For All: End Croydon’s Housing Crisis Now!, can be downloaded here: Croydon Communists – Housing Crisis or obtained by phoning 0208 686 1659 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Ben Stevenson is 29 years old and National Secretary of the Communist Party. Since moving to Croydon from his native Birmingham in 2005, he has been heavily involved in local labour movement politics through the Croydon Save Our Schools Campaign, the campaign against the Beddington Lane Incinerator and the Croydon Trades Union Council’s Executive Committee. He stood as a Communist Party candidate in the 2012 Croydon North by-election.
3. The Communist Party was founded in 1920 and is part of an international movement involving millions of people in more than 100 countries across the globe.