As part of a joint campaign, Defend Council Housing and Architects for Social Housing are organising a protest outside Parliament at 1300 on 05 January 2016 to coincide with the Third Reading of the Housing and Planning Bill in the House of Commons before it progresses on the the Lords.
The current progress of the Bill is laid out here.
More submissions can be found on the website for House of Commons Public Bill Committee on the Housing and Planning Bill 2015-16
Defend Council Housing has come up with a form e-mail to send to MPs
Re. the Housing and Planning Bill 2015
This legislation is a critical threat to housing in this country.
1. Significantly reduce the future supply of genuinely affordable rented homes by redirecting government support to private developers building publicly subsidised ‘Starter Homes’ that may help a few, at the expense of worsen the prospects for millions in housing need.
2. Further erode the stock of affordable rented homes by compelling Councils to sell-off ‘high value’ homes when they become empty.
3. Require cash-strapped Councils to pay a levy to cash-rich Private Registered Providers (housing associations) to subsidise Right to Buy discounts with no prospect or guarantee of replacement homes for rent in the same areas.
4. Introduce means testing for Council and HA tenants and make them ‘Pay to Stay’ in their homes by charging near-to or full market rents if household income is above £30,000 (£40,000 in London). Social housing tenants are not ‘subsidised’ – this is an unjustified tax on working households, a disincentive to increase earnings, and makes many feel stigmatised. It will be costly to administrate, increase conflict between council landlords, staff and tenants, and is likely to result in people disappearing from tenancy and electoral records.
5. Attack the rights of Gypsies and Travellers through a discriminatory reduction of available housing sites.
6. Provide only a fig-leaf of protection to private renters facing soaring rents, insecurity, disrepair and the constant threat of eviction.
7. In a bombshell late amendment at the start of Report stage, Government is now proposing to abolish life-time Secure Tenancies. This will compound the destabilising of mixed communities, further undermine Council housing as an alternative to market housing, push more households into unsuitable private renting and feed into the rise in housing costs, eviction rates and housing benefit. It breaks a series of undertakings made to tenants since Secure Tenancies were introduced in 1980.
The net effect of the Bill would fundamentally change the housing landscape of the UK and do nothing to solve the housing crisis.
I am part of a national campaign of tenants from all tenures, tenant organisations, councillors. MPs and trade unions which is growing fast, to ‘Kill the Housing Bill – secure homes for all’.
A protest will be taking place outside parliament on 5th January (from 1pm) and a meeting on the same day in parliament: you would be welcome to come along.
Please let me know what you think about the Housing and Planning Bill and what, if any, action you are taking to address the concerns listed above?
Cllr Paul Bull
c.c. John Healey MP, Brandon Lewis MP