7.30PM on THURSDAY 8 DECEMBER
FRIENDS MEETING HOUSE, SHIP STREET BRIGHTON
While David Cameron and his cabinet of millionaires live it up in their multiple luxurious mansions, they propose to hit those who have only one roof over their heads with an all-out assault on housing benefits and social housing.
The Government’s proposals include:
- Housing benefit to private tenants paid only up to the lowest 30% of rents in an area, rather than 50% as they are paid currently;
- Housing benefit levels not to increase in line with rents any more;
- New council tenants to have only 2 years security of tenure and this will include successor tenants;
- A resumption of Thatcher’s disastrous ‘right to buy’ policy, to sell off what council houses remain;
- Mortgage interest payments have already been slashed by half and are time-limited after two years of being unemployed
The government seek to divide and rule by claiming that these cuts are being made against ‘scroungers’ who are out of work, in the interest of those in work. This is nonsense – in reality, 80% of those in receipt of housing benefits are in work. Most people need to claim housing benefit because of low wages.
According to the Chartered Institute of Housing, 750,000 people across the UK will lose their homes because of the cuts. They will throw households into spiralling debt and will ‘cleanse’ large areas of cities like Brighton of ordinary tenants on a low wage.
While the rich continue to rake in enormous bonuses and obscene profits, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has predicted that the living standards of ordinary people in the UK will decline until at least 2013/2014. But rather than changing course, the government has begun to crack down on those who oppose them. The families of those involved in August’s riots have been threatened with arbitrary evictions and other collective punishments, while the disgraceful Hove MP Mike Weatherley has led a campaign pressing for draconian new legislation against squatting, to further punish those who will be made homeless and to forestall effective opposition to the cuts.
We need to fight back now. Only a large, determined, and organised campaign can force the government back and defend our wages, living standards, and homes.