Croydon TUC: the beating heart of radical Croydon

Croydon TUC (CTUC) held its AGM on Thursday at Ruskin House. With the resignation of Jon Morgan of PCS due to relocation away from Croydon, the meeting unanimously appointed Kevin Smith of CWU as the President. Kevin was an excellent choice, being active in the initiative to launch the Croydon Assembly, CTUC’s attempt to reach out beyond the trade union movement, and instrumental in forming the Croydon Assembly’s Environmental Forum. Roy Aird was re-elected as Secretary and this and the other appointments and re-appointments to the Executive Committee confirmed CTUC’s place at the beating heart of radical Croydon.

An attempt will be made this year to open CTUC’s monthly delegate meeting, held at 7.30 pm on the second Thursday of each month, to a wider audience by inviting more guest speakers. Invitations have already gone out to the  Campaign against Climate Change and the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom and more will follow with dates to be announced shortly.

The big event at Ruskin House this year will be the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the building in Coombe Road. To mark this event, the annual May Day March from North End (opposite Marks and Spencer) to Ruskin House will take place on Saturday, 13 May and will be followed by speeches, music and celebrations at Ruskin House. It is hoped that Mark Serwotka, the PCS General Secretary, will speak at what will be his first major public speaking engagement following his heart transplant operation. The assembly time at North End has yet to be confirmed, but it will probably be noon. As usual, trade union and Communist Party banners and flags will be proudly born through the pedestrian precinct and on Ruskin House.

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Croydon Assembly Saturday 19 March

Historically, democratic assemblies of workers such as the Paris Commune and the Russian soviets, built in the old society, played an essential role in the attempt to build a new one. This role was both to provide a bridge to the new society and the democratic framework on which democracy in the new society could be built. This is not an easy task: the Paris Commune lasted a mere 71 days, the USSR ‘only’ 74 years. Next time the democracy in the new society we build must be even more robust.

It is asking a lot of Croydon TUC and its outreach initiative, the Croydon Assembly, to provide this bridging role, but they currently represent one of the best ways of doing this. The Croydon Assembly will reconvene on Saturday, 19 March at Ruskin House, 23 Coombe Road, Croydon CR0 1BD, 11 am to 4 pm, and it deserves our support.

Confirmed speakers include Matt Wrack, General Secretary of the FBU, Philipa Harvey, President of the NUT and Dr Philip Howard from the BMA General Council. The main focus will, however, be the launch of the Croydon Assembly Manifesto, a democratically drafted document reflecting previous meetings of the Assembly and now presented to a wider public.

Entry is free and it is possible to register in advance at Eventbrite. Advance registration is, however, not essential. The important thing is to be there and join in.

Croydon’s Communist Party Sets Out Measures to Tackle Britain’s Housing Crisis

There are 5,000 people on the Croydon council housing list, many of them officially homeless. This is only likely to increase as people are being forced out of Lambeth and other neighbouring boroughs due to the increasing cost of housing. Many have been put in temporary accommodation. Across Britain, around two million families are stuck on council and housing association waiting lists, with the Tories spitefully striking off 113,000 people by changing the way in which people qualify.

Ben Stevenson, Communist Party general election candidate for Croydon North, said, “I think this is a scandal and is symptomatic of the Tory-Lib Dem Government’s refusal to tackle the country’s housing crisis. Britain has the seventh largest economy in the world. We should be building decent homes for all who need them. Instead, we are failing those least able to defend themselves, forcing them to squeeze in to 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. These are modern day slums; and this is a massive waste of taxpayers’ money.”

House prices in London are continuing to spiral out of control. According to recent figures from the Land Registry, prices in Croydon have risen by 17% over the last year (against a London average of 11%). This is caused by a shortage of housing in the capital, the activities of ‘buy to let’ landlords and the Government’s fundamentally misconceived Funding for Lending scheme which fuels another speculative bubble.

The average property value in Croydon is now £324,000. According to ONS statistics, the average wage in Croydon is £24,336. As real wages have fallen for most people since the start of the recession, house prices in Croydon are now less affordable, compared to earnings, than ever before. It’s usually considered that a reasonable level for house prices is about three times that of earnings. But, for the first time, we are seeing average London house price which are thirteen times the average wage. People are being forced to take on absurd levels of debt to buy a home.

Mr Stevenson said, “Clearly, this isn’t sustainable. At some point the bubble will burst. Local politicians are 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. The supply of social housing in Croydon is of course, 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. An entire generation of people in Croydon are being systematically denied their right to decent affordable housing.

The communist party is absolutely clear. Having a decent place to live should be a basic human right. Labour has failed to take this issue seriously. Their policy on house building is opaque. Is it 200,000 or 250,000. Is that per year or just by 2020? Are those affordable homes or just more sky scrapers built to provide luxury apartments? How exactly is this meant to be achieved if not through a programme of council house building? In fact this policy commitment seems to be based on an expectation that the housing and construction market will itself magically deliver a solution.

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. Our immediate priority has to be to tackle private landlords. Rather than vague commitments to cap rents at CPI, I want to see an immediate rental cap of 50 per cent of average local earnings, driving it down until it’s 25 per cent.

Ultimately, we need more council housing across Britain. Just 37 per cent of accommodation let privately meets decent homes association standards compared to all council properties. We urgently need an inspection team – with the power to actually force landlords to act and to take properties into democratically accountable hands when they don’t. Only the Communist Party offers these and other progressive policies which matter to ordinary working people.”

Communists in Croydon published a pamphlet in 2014 on the growing housing crisis in the borough, Decent Homes For All: End Croydon’s Housing Crisis Now! This publication seeks to explain the why and how of Croydon’s housing crisis. Copies are available on this blogsite or by contacting us direct.

Notes to editors:
1. For enquiries phone 0208 686 1659 or e-mail croydon@communist-party.org.uk
2. Ben Stevenson is 30 years old and National Organiser 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 and the 2014 Bensham Manor local 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.

Croydon North communist candidate Ben Stevenson calls for revolution in our democracy

 

Croydon North Communist candidate Ben Stevenson spoke to assembled national and international media at an event in Westminster today organised to promote the CPs election manifesto.


Whatever government manages to be formed come may 8th 9th – whether it’s blue and purple; red and orange; green, pink, black, gold or yellow 

What’s clear is that what we wont get is a government that will break the neoliberal consensus which has dominated our politics for the last 35 years. We won’t get a government that will represent the interests of ordinary working people over that of the city spivs, big business or any other section of the top 1% who own and control nearly all of Britain’s wealth. Why is this, well over the last 35 years we’ve seen a sustained and gradual selling off, erosion and rolling back and of our democracy by Tory, new labour government and now this unelected coalition government.

What we need is a revolution in our democracy. If we’re serious about tackling tax havens why don’t we start with the 2nd largest one in the world – the city of London – that resides just a couple of miles down the road. A revolution in our democracy that challenges the power of the city and punctures through the Westminster bubble

That’s why the Communist Party puts forwards the creation of a truly democratic relationship between the nations and peoples of this country. A truly federal Britain, which will include extensive economic, financial and law-making powers for Scotland, Wales and the regions of England (where it is wanted).

To those that say regional government in England doesn’t work, just look at London even with a blithering idiot like Boris Johnson as mayor – public transport in London (despite its many faults) is streets ahead of other cities and regions of Britain.

Of course as a communist MP I would go even further in my constituency setting up local street level bodies and fighting to transfer power back to the people.

What’s more all three nations would benefit from Britain’s withdrawal from the EU and NATO, enabling us to pursue domestic, foreign and non-nuclear defence policies free from pro-big business diktat and aggressive foreign wars. These are the kind of policies that the Communist Party is putting forward at this election and that we will be fighting for whatever government is formed on May 8th.

85th Anniversary of the Morning Star

This year marks the 85th anniversary of the Morning Star. The paper first came out on 1 January 1930 under the title, the Daily Worker. It changed its name to the Morning Star in 1966. The paper is the voice of organised labour. It’s the only paper that reports on the industrial and political issues that matter to ordinary people. And it will play a crucial role in this general election year as the political debate sharpens and we fight to get rid of the Con-Dems in May.

We need more people to buy the Morning Star to cover production costs and ensure the voice of socialism is heard. Please encourage your friends and colleagues to buy the paper by placing an order at your local newsagent or buying a subscription to the e-edition: http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/subscribe

Morning Star Marks World War 1 with Unique International Collaboration

Get your copy of today’s Morning Star, which has published an international pullout this weekend to mark the centenary of World War 1 with views and analysis which break with the establishment consensus and a socialist perspective on the bloodshed, which puts the record straight. It is a unique collaboration with three socialist newspapers: Arbejderen of Denmark, junge Welt of Germany and Zeitung vum Letzebuerger Vollek of Luxembourg. The pullout will be published in all four countries during the centenary week.

The special edition has eight pages of hard-hitting feature pieces and pictures on “the war that didn’t end all wars”, led to slaughter on an industrial scale and a legacy of imperialism and conflict which continues to this day.

As Prime Minister David Cameron eyes “The Great War” as a PR opportunity for the election of the Conservatives in 2015, and with the mainstream media slavishly following his lead, the Morning Star supplement tells it like it is, from the Left.

Acting Editor Ben Chacko said:

“I know of no newspaper in Britain which is joining hands with others in Europe, and especially Germany, to tell the truth about the carnage of the first world war, why it happened, and who profited from it.

“We were then, as in many respects we are now, a nation of lions led by donkeys. We will not let David Cameron and his media cronies hijack history and portray this centenary as a patriotic exercise for the election of a Tory Government.”

The special souvenir edition offers analysis and historical insight on a range of issues related to the war, from how it affected women and their position in society, to those voices of courage from the Left who opposed it to their personal cost.

Writers from the four publications will appear in the pullout. They include:

– Andrew Murray, deputy president of the Stop The War coalition, applying the lessons of the war to today’s conflicts;

– Selina Todd of Oxford University on the women who emerged from the munitions factories and elsewhere to build new lives and help elect the ’45 Labour Government in a land fit for heroes;

– Martin Hedlund Fink from Denmark looking at war profiteering in his own country, capitalist opportunism and the so-called “goulash barons”;

– Arnold Scholzel from Germany on how workers and their organisations across Europe reacted to the inexorable move to conflict; and,

– Wayne David, Labour MP for Caerphilly, on how his forerunner, Morgan Jones, opposed the war to his huge personal cost, with imprisonment.

Ben Chacko added:

“This is a unique and fruitful collaboration between four major newspapers of the European Left. It is not a one-off, and we intend to come together again to offer working people of our countries a socialist perspective on the issues that matter to us all.”

The souvenir edition is free in today’s 32-page weekend Morning Star (Saturday and Sunday 2/3 August), which sells for £1. It is available at all key retail outlets. Or you can subscribe at: http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk. After that you can buy copies of the souvenir edition from the Morning Star online shop or by calling 020 8510 0815.

CROYDON TUC CONVENES A CROYDON ASSEMBLY on 15 NOVEMBER 2014

The government has been trumpeting that economic recovery is under way: according to figures published by the Office of National Statistics, unemployment in the UK fell by 121,000 in the three months to May; the rate of unemployment fell to 6.5% from 6.6% in the three months to 31 March, l the lowest level in nearly six years; the number claiming jobseekers allowance has fallen to 1.04 million; and more than 78% of men and 68% of women are now in work.

The Tories are desperate to persuade enough of the electorate, or at least enough of the electorate who can be bothered to vote, that the economic crisis triggered by the bank collapse in 2008 is over. Nothing could be further from the truth.

After four years of austerity, government borrowing remains more or less where it was following the banking collapse. But reducing government borrowing was never what the coalition’s continuing austerity programme is about. It is an attack on the living standards of working people and it is succeeding. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, after inflation, the real, hourly pay of workers under the age of 30 has collapsed by 11% since 2008; and their household incomes are down 15%. Meanwhile, rents are up and the property market for buy-to-rent is soaring.
Every capitalist state requires a large pool of unemployed workers in order to subdue the rest and keep profits rolling in. This could be achieved with an even lower unemployment rate than we are currently experiencing – provided further measures are put in place to cow workers. This is why Cameron is threatening to further restrict trade unions and workplace rights and why there will be further tightening of unemployment and other benefits. These measures ensure that workers can be pressed into employment at rates of pay that scarcely provide for their subsistence and ensure that their kids will never be in a position to enjoy even this modest level of subsistence or have families of their own.
The solutions are obvious. We need the government to promote trade unions, not attack them. We need solid financial support for our young people before they enter employment, not student loans. We need a living wage, not the derisory minimum wage. We need security of tenure for tenants and a huge council house building programme. Only with a bedrock of social housing will the private sector curtail its exploitative behaviour. We need generous social security benefits and an end to attacks on claimants. We need a media that doesn’t attack the unemployed and foreigners, not one owned by billionaires who fund the Tories and yet don’t themselves pay tax.

The Labour Party, or at least a significant element within it, once supported all these measures. These days they believe in “equality of opportunity” and seek to appeal to upwardly mobile “hard working families”. Don’t they understand that for every family on the way up, there is one on the way down, and that working class families have kids and these kids won’t be in a position to start families if nothing is done?

If enough pressure is brought to bear on the Labour Party, it could be brought round again to progressive policies. This is the idea behind Croydon TUC’s recent decision to launch a Croydon Assembly, bringing together workers, special interest groups and local activists in the area. A meeting of the Assembly has been called for Saturday, 15 November at Ruskin House, South Croydon. The Communist Party gives this initiative its full support. Whether Labour can be shifted from the secure middle ground that offers it the prospect of winning, or at least sharing, power at the general election in 2015 as the ‘least worst option’ remains to be seen. One thing is clear. This is the last opportunity to attempt this. If Labour takes power and continues with further austerity and more neo-liberal policies, or indeed, if it loses the election having stood on a platform of such policies, we will have to conclude that, as they say, the party’s over.

Communist Party Candidate Gives Good Account of Himself in Local Election Hustings

Dr Peter Latham, Communist Party candidate for Broad Green gave a good account of himself at the local election hustings in Broad Green on 15 May. There was a healthy turnout and a good debate.

Dr Latham said, “London is the capital of the world’s super-rich with 72 billionaires. None of them, however, live in the five wards of the central north area of Croydon: Broad Green, Bensham Manor; Thornton Heath; West Thornton and Selhurst. According to the GLA, parts of Broad Green are amongst the 10% most deprived in the UK. Councils are currently half way through a scheduled 40 per cent cut in funding from central government. As a result of these cuts councils in many areas will not have enough money to meet all their statutory responsibilities. The current formula for local government funding is putting councils – quite needlessly – in danger of bankruptcy.”

“An alternative political and economic strategy is needed. But Labour’s leadership are committed to maintaining the public sector pay freeze, abiding by Tory-led Coalition Government’s spending plans for one year after the general election and sticking to a welfare spending cap for the entire parliamentary term. Labour need to be bolder and offer a genuine, socialist alternative to endless austerity.”

The Communist Party’s proposals are modest:
• Repeal of the Localism Act (except the provisions giving councils the right to return to the committee system and all councillors the right to make policy again in England and Wales; those protecting private tenants’ deposits; and the “general power of competence” to expand their functions).
• Abolition of US-style directly elected executive mayors and the cabinet system which under New Labour’s Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 created indirectly elected mayors by giving council leaders virtually the same powers as US-style directly executive mayors.
• No councillors should be paid more than average annual full-time earnings in their locality. For example, the London Borough of Croydon has a cabinet system and a leader who in 2013/14 received £65,466 – 5.8 times greater than the basic allowance of £11,239 received by backbench councillors with no special responsibility allowance. The total cost of the basic and special responsibility allowances in 2013/14 was £1,617,706. The total cost of SRAs was £830,976 for the seven cabinet members, the 10 deputy cabinet members, the 10 committee vice-chairs and the seven shadow cabinet members. Annual mean full-time gross earnings (excluding overtime) in Croydon in 2012 were £29,481. The prospect of fewer SRAs may be the major reason why only nine councils have opted for the committee system since the Localism Act. If in May 2014 Labour wins control of Croydon Council – where the current leadership controls the allocation of 43 out 55 SRAs (the other 12 are allocated by the Labour Group) – the Labour Group’s material interests will ensure the status quo continues: unless the Left in the forthcoming period builds a broad alliance able to win a return to the committee system.
• De-privatisation and the direct provision of local authority and other public services.
• A statutory living wage, abolition of zero hour contracts and an end to the wage freeze.
• A mass programme of council housing built by direct labour with proper apprenticeships to cut mass youth unemployment, rent control and abolition of the Bedroom Tax.
• Investment to create green jobs, which would also cut unemployment.
• Increasing social benefits and pensions in line with inflation.
• Stopping the scapegoating of immigrants and welfare claimants.
This could easily be paid for by:
• a two per cent wealth tax on the richest 10 per cent of the population – who own 41 per cent of Britain’s wealth estimated to be £4.5 trillion (revenue £90 billion a year)
• ending tax dodging by the super-rich and big business (revenue £70 billion a year)
• a 20 per cent tax on the super-profits of banking, energy, retail, arms and drug monopolies (revenue £16 billion a year)
• a ‘Robin Hood’ tax on City transactions (revenue £7.5 to £112 billion a year)
• a rise in the threshold for income tax to £30,000 by introducing a new 60 per cent rate of tax for incomes over £60,000
• a new system of local authority finance based on abolishing the regressive council tax, stamp duty land tax and business rates and their replacement by a new system of annual land value taxation (LVT). Local authorities would retain up to a third of the revenue collected, with the rest going to central government (or the devolved governments in the case of Scotland and Wales), which is then redistributed back to local authorities on a per capita basis. Only freeholders and landlords would pay LVT and buildings tax; and the owners of large estates would pay more because their acreage is greater than a semi and they often own valuable sites in town and city centres. Tenants would no longer be liable to property taxes. LVT would also avoid the main shortcomings of a local income tax (LIT), which would be more complex and costly to collect, especially if it included unearned income not covered by PAYE, due to so many people living in a local jurisdiction different from where they work; and LIT would also be inequitable because of the large difference between mean or average income in more affluent areas and in poor areas.

Dr Latham concluded, “Austerity is unnecessary because we are a rich society. Today only parties to the left of Labour (i.e. the Greens, TUSC and the Communist Party) advocate genuine change: which indicates the scale of the crisis of working class political representation locally and nationally. This is why Unite union general secretary Len McCluskey in April warned Labour to drop its austerity policies or face election defeat and the possible establishment of a new workers’ party. Vote for a socialist alternative. Vote Communist on 22 May!”

Croydon Communists Speak Out on the Demise of Local Government

Press Release

Dr Peter Latham, Communist Party local election candidate for Broad Green, said today, “As the local election campaign picks up, it’s noteworthy how little comment there is by candidates on the effective emasculation of local government under the Con-Dem Government. Unless present policies are reversed we face the prospect of what the leader of Birmingham City Council, Sir Albert Bore, calls the ‘end of local government as we know it’. The current formula for local government funding is presenting councils with impossible choices about which services to support and which services to cut. In some cases, major cities such as Liverpool are facing bankruptcy and being forced into a situation where they cannot even afford to pay for statutory social care services.”

“The Localism Act 2011 is the key mechanism used by the Con-Dems to erode local government. Of, course it is doing anything but promote local democracy and should really be called the ‘Centralism Act’! Its provisions underpin a creeping centralisation of many policy areas previously under local authority control. It has removed powers from councils under the guise of enabling ‘Big Society’ charitable organisations to play a greater role at the local level. The real agenda is to shrink the state, slash public expenditure and accelerate out-sourcing of public services.”

The Communist Party supports a range of measures to re-invigorate local government, including:

• Smaller councils and more councillors because England, Wales and Scotland now have fewer and larger ‘local’ authorities than any other Western advanced capitalist country except Ireland
• Repeal of the Localism Act (except the provisions giving councils the right to return to the committee system and all councillors the right to make policy again in England and Wales; those protecting private tenants’ deposits; and the “general power of competence” to expand their functions)
• Abolition of US-style directly-elected local authority mayors.
• The ending of all forms of marketisation, privatisation and profiteering in central and local government.
• Direct provision by councils of locally administered services to revive and develop community participation, accountability and self-government in areas such as council housing and management of schools.
• Capping of councillors’ pay at the average annual full-time earnings in their locality.

Dr Latham said, “Town halls are the lifeblood of local democracy, empowering communities, providing a practical demonstration of direct democracy and offering accountability to constituents. Local government needs rescuing from this wretched Government. The replacement of the traditional committee system with leaders and cabinets or US-style directly-elected mayors has created a brigade of full-time career politicians, which has removed the working class from this layer of local democracy. While over a third of local government services are now marketised or privatised. We need a radical reorganisation of the way local government is financed, based on the needs of each individual town and city; and genuine decentralisation from Whitehall. Vote Communist in the local election to support the fight for local democracy!”

Local residents will be able to hear Dr Latham speak at the hustings organised in Broad Green on Thursday May 15, at 7.30pm at the Oshwal Centre, Campbell Road, Croydon CR0 2SQ.

Notes to editors:
1. For enquiries phone 0208 686 1659 or e-mail croydon@communist-party.org.uk
2. Dr Peter Latham is the Communist Party local election candidate for Broad Green. A former lecturer, he has lived in the area for many years. He is the author of ‘The State and Local Government: Towards a new basis for local democracy and the defeat of big business control’ ( Manifesto Press, 2011) and a longstanding member of Croydon Trades Union Council’s Executive Committee.
3. Ben Stevenson is 29 years old and National Secretary of the Communist Party. He is the Communist Party candidate for Bensham Manor. 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.
4. John Eden is the Communist Party local election candidate for Selhurst. He is 64 years old and a carpenter and joiner. He is a member of Croydon Trades Union Council’s Executive Committee and has lived in Selhurst for 27 years.
5. 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.

Croydon’s Communist Party Reacts to Scandal of Empty Homes in the Borough

Press Release

Croydon Council has reported that it knows of 1,044 homes which have been empty for more than six months as of March 31 2014, compared to 1,000 in September last year. Meanwhile, more than 2,000 families have been put in temporary accommodation.

Ben Stevenson, Communist Party local election candidate for Bensham Manor, said, “I think this is a scandal given the extent of the housing shortage in Croydon and is symptomatic of the council’s refusal to tackle Croydon’s housing crisis. Britain has the seventh largest economy in the world. We should be building decent homes for all who need them. Instead, we are failing those least able to defend themselves, forcing them to squeeze in to 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. These are modern day slums; and this is a massive waste of taxpayers’ money.”

House prices in London are continuing to spiral out of control. Prices have risen overall by around 18% over the last year, as a shortage of housing in the capital, the activities of ‘buy to let’ landlords and the Government’s fundamentally misconceived Funding for Lending scheme fuels another speculative bubble. In Croydon itself, prices have risen by 14% over the last year, with reports of local buyers paying up to £50,000 above asking prices.

To make matters worse, house prices in London are now less affordable, compared to earnings, than ever before. It’s usually considered that a reasonable level for house prices is about three times that of earnings. But, for the first time, we are seeing average London house price which are eight times the average first-time buyer’s salary. People are being forced to take on absurd levels of debt to buy a home.

Mr Stevenson said, “Clearly, this isn’t sustainable. At some point the bubble will burst. Local politicians are 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. The supply of social housing in Croydon is of course, 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. An entire generation of people in Croydon are being systematically denied their right to decent affordable housing. 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.”

Communists in Croydon recently published a pamphlet on the growing housing crisis in the borough, Decent Homes For All: End Croydon’s Housing Crisis Now! This publication seeks to explain the why and how of Croydon’s housing crisis. Copies are available on the website or by contacting us direct.

Notes to editors:
1. For enquiries phone 0208 686 1659 or e-mail croydon@communist-party.org.uk
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. John Eden is the Communist Party local election candidate for Selhurst. He is 64 years old and a carpenter and joiner. He is a member of Croydon Trades Union Council’s Executive Committee and has lived in Selhurst for 27 years.
4. Dr Peter Latham is the Communist Party local election candidate for Broad Green. A former lecturer, he has lived in the area for many years. He is the author of ‘The State and Local Government: Towards a new basis for local democracy and the defeat of big business control’ and a longstanding member of Croydon Trades Union Council’s Executive Committee.
5. 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.