Housing

Baroness Thatcher and Dame Shirley Porter

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

DAME Shirley Porter, the Tesco heiress, was to Tory local government in the 1980s what Margaret Thatcher was to Tory central government - a crass, proud, ruthless, seemingly efficient, mix-it-with-the opposition defender of the sacred cause of free enterprise.

Dame Shirley ran the City of Westminster as Thatcher ran Britain. Now Lady Porter and her lieutenants are revealed in a report by the District Auditor to have run Westminster Council like a bunch of cynical ward-heeling New York political gangsters of an earlier age.

DAME Shirley Porter, the Tesco heiress, was to Tory local government in the 1980s what Margaret Thatcher was to Tory central government. They ran Westminster Council like a bunch of New York political gangsters of an earlier age.

Marxist Theory and History: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

Baroness Thatcher and Dame Shirley Porter

Author: 

Sean Matgamna

DAME Shirley Porter, the Tesco heiress, was to Tory local government in the 1980s what Margaret Thatcher was to Tory central government - a crass, proud, ruthless, seemingly efficient, mix-it-with-the opposition defender of the sacred cause of free enterprise.

Dame Shirley ran the City of Westminster as Thatcher ran Britain. Now Lady Porter and her lieutenants are revealed in a report by the District Auditor to have run Westminster Council like a bunch of cynical ward-heeling New York political gangsters of an earlier age.

DAME Shirley Porter, the Tesco heiress, was to Tory local government in the 1980s what Margaret Thatcher was to Tory central government. They ran Westminster Council like a bunch of New York political gangsters of an earlier age.

Marxist Theory and History: 

Issues and Campaigns: 

Tenant evictions reach record high

The number of tenants being evicted has reached its highest level for over a decade.

According to the Ministry of Justice, between January and March this year, landlords made 47,220 court claims to repossess property — and average of over 500 repossession claims a day.

The rise in evictions comes from welfare cuts, housing shortages and stagnant wages.

The Bedroom Tax, which docks housing benefit for those with a spare bedroom is also responsible.

The number of tenants being evicted has reached its highest level for over a decade.

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The great housing disaster

Danny Dorling is the Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography at the University of Oxford and the author of many works on issues of social inequality. His latest work is All that is Solid: the Great Housing Disaster. Cathy Nugent spoke to him a few days before the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, warned bankers and the government to bring rising house prices in London and the south-east under control, or risk another crash.

An interview with Danny Dorling about his latest book, All that is Solid: the Great Housing Disaster.

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Private tenants get organised

On 30 April I attended a Waltham Forest Trades Council meeting on London’s housing crisis.

Rosie Walker from Waltham Forest Renters, a private tenants’ group organising against landlords, spoke about the need for rent stabilisation and longer, more secure tenancies.

WFR also demands the licensing of landlords and the curbing of “buy-to-let”. And Walker called for the abolition of section 21 of the Housing Act, which allows landlords to evict tenants without any reason.

Private tenants’ groups have sprung up in several London boroughs demanding laws that curb the power of landlords and fighting for good, affordable housing for all.

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Focus E15 Mothers' Campaign

An update on the group of young mothers and mothers-to-be fighting eviction from their hostel in Stratford.

A group of young mothers and mothers-to-be have been fighting eviction from their hostel since last October. Newham Council, London, have cut funding to the mother and baby unit, forcing 25 residents to choose between homelessness, moving as far away as Birmingham or Manchester, or staying to fight collectively.

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Time to see off the bedroom tax!

To mark the first anniversary of the bedroom tax (1 April), the BBC commissioned an investigation.

It found 6% of tenants previously claiming (and now no longer receiving benefits for spare rooms) have moved. 28% of tenants affected have fallen into rent arrears for the first time.

The amount “saved” by the measure is at least £140 million less than predicted.

The bedroom tax has become a byword for all that is cruel, arbitrary and vindictive in the government’s assault on the poor.

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Publications: 

Labour councils and bedroom tax

On 10 February, Channel 4 screened a ‘Dispatches’ documentary on “bedroom tax”.

On 10 February, Channel 4 screened a ‘Dispatches’ documentary on “bedroom tax”.

Many Labour councillors appeared on the programme denouncing the Government’s measures. Some of them even detailed how they were doing the bare minimum required of them by law to implement them. Our main priority is to protect our tenants, they said.

The Labour Party has pledged to scrap the tax on coming to power.

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Culture and Reviews: 

The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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New loophole find helps Bedroom Tax fight

Anti-Bedroom Tax campaigner Peter Barker has discovered a major loophole in the legislation.

He found that any tenant whose housing benefit claim for a property dates from 1996 or before should not be liable for the Bedroom Tax, even according to the government’s own legislation.

An anti-Bedroom Tax campaigner has discovered a major loophole in the legislation

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Social housing, not social cleansing

29 East London-based young mothers are under threat of eviction after Newham Council cut funding to their accommodation, in East Thames’s “Focus E15” building in Stratford.  

The mums have been fighting to stay in social housing since last October. They have been making national news and local front pages. Most recently, on Friday 17 January, they confronted their landlords, East Thames, occupying one of the “show flats” that East Thames has been promoting to the wealthy to entice rich people to move to Stratford.

29 East London-based young mothers are under threat of eviction after Newham Council cut funding to their accommodation, in East Thames’s “Focus E15” building in Stratford.

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