Harrogate Socialists held a stall in the town centre today, campaigning for affordable housing and the introduction of rent controls.
Britain is in the grip of a housing crisis which is the legacy of successive Tory and Labour government policies, both in terms of selling-off housing stock and a lack of investment in affordable homes.
- An estimated 1.7 million people are on social housing waiting lists in England alone – that’s 1 in 12 families
- There are 1 million empty homes in Britain, including 300,000 that are empty long-term
- Spiralling rents in the private sector now mean that private renters spend an average of 43% of their income on rent
- For most young people, the prospect of ever owning their own home is slipping away – over 3 million people in their 20’s and early 30’s now live with their parents
This national housing crisis is reflected in Harrogate. A recent report by the National Housing Federation revealed that house prices in Harrogate have risen by 65% over the past decade. The average house price in Harrogate is £264,574 which is 12.5 times the average income of £21,225. The increasing cost of the private rented sector is also having a huge impact, with 50% of new households in Harrogate unable to afford to rent or buy in the district.
We organised a petition containing the following demands:
- Rent control now! Democratic rent councils to decide fair levels in each area
- Council-run, not-for-profit letting agencies
- Stop council house sell-offs!
- Bring all housing association stock and housing services back in-house
- A mass programme of council house building and renovation to meet demand
- Councils should use their compulsory purchase powers on long-term empty properties and use them as council housing
Paul Viney is standing as the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate for the High Harrogate ward in the Borough Council elections in May. All TUSC candidates are campaigning for genuine rent controls, an end to housing sell-offs and a mass programme of council house building.
If you would you like to help with Paul’s campaign in High Harrogate, please contact harrogatesocialists[at]gmail.com
For further information about TUSC, see: http://www.tusc.org.uk
For a socialist perspective on Britain’s housing crisis, see the following article from the Socialist, the weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party: