London’s housing crisis is set to escalate even further as figures show the construction of new socially rented homes in the capital is collapsing.
Statistics from the Department of Communities and Local Government reveal that the number of new socially-rented homes that began to be constructed in the city fell below 5000 in the most recent year for the first time in over a decade. There were just 4,790 new social home-build starts in 2015/16 compared to 7,860 in 2010/11. London’s population soared by around half a million in that period.
The figures for the most recent quarter are especially troubling, recording just 660 new starts in the latest period, a fall from over 2000 in the first quarter of 2015/16.
As alarming as these statistics are, they only tell half the story. Many of these new homes will be ‘affordable’ rather than priced at social rents. This means that rents could be as high as 80% of those in the local private sector, whilst they may also be let on fixed five years tenancies. Some local authorities are now prioritising these homes for what they call ‘key workers’ – meaning teachers, coppers and social workers. This is not social housing in a form that anyone would recognise.
Astonishingly London borough’s are also selling off social housing stock leading to a loss of 4000 homes in 2014/15, many due to Right To Buy. The London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham flogged 418 social houses between 2010 and 2015 and replaced them with just 170 new homes. Construction did not begin on one single socially rented home in this borough in 2015/16, and the same applies to Kingston Upon Thames, Harrow and the City of London.
Homelessness is soaring in the capital with the number of people sleeping on the streets at record levels. Appallingly the number of empty homes has also hit a seven year high, no doubt due to luxury flats being built as investments and then left unused. And what are our elected officials doing about this crisis? If they were doing fuck all that would be bad enough. The truth is most of them, Labour or Tory, are making things worse.
Next week will see Labour councillors joining the the Tory Housing Minister Brandon Lewis to suck up to property developers and estate agents at the London Real Estate Forum. The event is backed by the new Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and is being held in Mayfair – the multi-millionaire’s ghetto where the rich live in total isolation of the chaos they are creating in the lives of many Londoners. They will not be there to discuss growing homelessness, soaring rents or the demise of social housing. Instead they will be discussing how to further lines their pockets from the carnage. Every fucking vulture in the world has their eyes on London’s last remaining social housing estates. Deals will be done, the right people paid off, and our communities will be smashed up even further. It is vital that these parasites are opposed.
A day of protest against the event is emerging beginning with a morning demonstration outside at 8.30am. Then at 1pm Class War are calling for revenge with a mass noise protest outside the forum in Berkeley Square. If you want your kid to have somewhere to live when they grow up then be there. If you would like to be able to retire in the city you have lived in all your life be there. If you are worried your council home is under threat or are sick of paying eye-watering rents to private landlords, be there. If you just hate fucking toffs, be there. Advance to Mayfair. Bring the fucking noise. Spread the word – June 14, 1pm Berkeley Square.
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