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Harrogate Socialists campaigned in the town centre today, highlighting the lack of affordable homes in Harrogate and the extent of the housing crisis in the district.

According to a recent report by the National Housing Federation, house prices in Harrogate have risen by 65% over the past decade. The average house price in Harrogate is now £264,574, which is 12.5 times the average income of £21,225. A generation of young people are also faced with spiraling rents, while being unable to get on the housing ladder.

We organised a petition containing the following demands:

  • A mass programme of council house building and renovation
  • A rent cap to bring private rents into line with council housing
  • The establishment of council-run, not-for-profit letting agencies
  • All housing services and housing association stock to be brought back in-house
  • A “rent council” made up of housing workers, tenants and trade unions to determine fair rents in Harrogate
  • Scrap the bedroom tax

A young retail worker who signed our petition was paying £400 per month for one room in a shared house as they were unable to afford to rent a place of their own. A parent told us that their two children were both working but were having to live at home as they could not afford to rent or buy in the area.

Paul Viney is standing as a Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate for the High Harrogate ward in the local council elections on May 22nd. All TUSC candidates campaign for rent controls and for councils to use reserves and borrowing to build and renovate council housing. TUSC is also the only party opposing low wages and poverty pay, supporting a minimum wage of £10 an hour and a ban on zero hour contracts.