February 13, 2017
Conservative Government, Council House building, Swindon Tenants Campaign Group
Swindon Tenants Campaign Group Media Release February 13th 2017
No solution to the housing crisis without council house building
The government’s Housing White Paper, “Fixing our broken housing market”, is an implicit recognition of the failure of 6 years of coalition and Tory government housing policy. Talk of a “home owning democracy” has been abandoned. However, the problem will not be resolved by attempting to make ‘the market work for everyone’. As the Financial Times recently recognised in an Editorial, it is against the interests of the big builders to build ‘affordable homes’ for rent.
“The fact is that private developers, left to their own devices, will not build enough to meet demand, especially when the greatest need is for affordable rented housing in urban areas. It is not in their interest to do so, since the result would be lower house prices and land values, eroding their profitability”. More
February 3, 2017
"Right to Buy", Swindon Tenants Campaign Group
Our February 2017 Newsletter dealing with the proposal to rob the Housing Revenue Account of Funds to bolster Swindon Council’s troubled General Fund, by transfering garages and some shops into the General Fund, resulting in the loss of £1.3 million income. Also included, our Pamphlet, The case for cancelling council housing debt, Right to Buy sales, and “Treat claimants with respect”.
Download a copy here: campaign-group-news-feb-2017
January 31, 2017
Council housing debt, Labour Party
Swindon Council’s Labour Group has supported our campaign for Labour to press the government to reopen the 2012 ‘debt settlement’ and to commit to cancelling the bogus council housing ‘debt’ if elected to government. Below is Labour Group Leader Jim Grant’s letter to Jeremy Corbyn.
I am writing to you on behalf of the labour Group of Swindon Borough Council to give our support to to the growing campaign for an incoming Labour Government to commit to cancelling council housing debt . This campaign initiated by the Swindon Tenant Campaign Group has two key elements
- To re-open the 2012 debt settlement and write off council housing debt in line with the significant loss of rental income resulting from the governments’ policies since 2012
- Commit to cancelling all council housing debt on election to government
January 23, 2017
Council housing debt, Labour Party, Swindon Tenants Campaign Group
Harry Stannard from Leicester sent us this report.
At its members’ meeting on January 10th, Westcotes branch of Leicester West CLP (Liz Kendall is the MP), passed the following resolution unanimously:
“We welcome the Shadow Cabinet’s decision to call for the ‘Right To Buy’ in England to be suspended, and that rent control legislation should be introduced in the private sector. Along with the Swindon Tenants Campaign Group we also recognise that council housing is facing a serious funding crisis as a result of the so-called ‘self-financing’ policy since 2010, which has led to a growing loss of rental income to local authorities.
We call on the Labour Party and in particular the Shadow Cabinet, National Policy Forum and Leicester City’s Labour group to:
1) Press the government to reopen the 2012 ‘debt settlement’ and demand that it reduces the debt given to local authorities in line with the loss of income resulting from government policies since then.
2) Make a commitment that in government they will cancel the so-called ‘council housing debt’ imposed in 2012, which is draining resources as rental income declines significantly. This should be part of our commitment to making a massive council house-building programme one of the corner-stones of a Labour government.
We resolve to contact the STCG to enquire more details of their campaign, and will send this resolution to our CMC and other branches in our CLP”
Westcotes is the second largest branch in the constituency, and the motion was seconded by one of its councillors, Andy Connelly, who is Leicester City Council’s Assistant Mayor for Housing. Andy explained how council house building in the City had almost dried up for lack of funds, whilst sales enforced on us by the so-called ‘Right to Buy’ are now running at over 300 per annum.
January 15, 2017
Building Companies, House Building
Two academics at Sheffield Hallam University have produced a useful paper, Profit Before Volume, Major house builders and the crisis of housing supply. The paper examines the role of the major house builders in the housing market and the connection between their domination of the market and the historically low level of house building. The concentration of production into the hands of a small number of major house builders has enabled them to exert a degree of control over what is built in order to maximise their profits and drip-feed supply.
“The top ten house builders have increased their share of housing production from nine per cent in 1960 to 47 per cent by 2015. In 1980 there were over 10,000 small and medium (SME) house builders, building 57 per cent of all housing. In 2014 this had dropped to 2,800 firms delivering just 27 per cent of all output.” (Read on below or download a PDF here contrivedscarcity – see the PDF for the Addendum) More
January 7, 2017
Homelessness, Swindon, Swindon Council
The statistics for 2015/16 relating to people who approach Swindon Council as homeless or being threatened with homelessness show a worsening situation.
In 2015/16 the number of households approaching the council as homeless was 559. Two years previously it was only 225.
The number of households accepted as homeless and “in priority need” (see Addendum for explanation) has risen by 50% over the last two years; from 110 to 165.
The number of households living in temporary accommodation has increased by 78% over the last two and a half years, from 201 to 359.
From the figures it’s clear that Swindon Council is finding it increasingly difficult to deal with what is a growing problem. In 2009/10 they managed to assist 956 households in preventing or relieving homelessness. Yet by last year they were able to achieve this in only 287 cases.
The number of households they were able to help obtain alternative accommodation (where they were faced with the loss of their existing accommodation) fell from 757 in 2009/10 to just 242 in 2015/16. (Read on below or download a PDF here homelessnessstatsswindon ) More
December 17, 2016
Council housing debt, Labour Party, Swindon Tenants Campaign Group
The National Executive of the Labour Representation Committee, chaired by FBU General Secretary Matt Wrack, has passed a resolution supporting Swindon Tenants Campaign Group’s call (see our new pamphlet) for Labour to:
Press the government to reopen the 2012 ‘debt settlement’ and write off council housing debt in line with the significant loss of rental income resulting from government policies since 2012;
Commit to cancelling so-called council housing debt if elected to government.
The LRC agreed to write to the Labour leadership calling on them to support these proposals. It also agreed to circulate its affiliated organisations to ask them to do likewise. More