Homeless children in Britain hits 14 year high

Red Youth condemns Tory and Labour alike for the rise in the number of homeless children which has hit a 14-year high – with almost 130,000 stuck in B&Bs and temporary shelter and some 1,550 parents with children living in what are supposed to be short-term B&Bs.

Labour Shadow Housing Secretary Thangam Debbonaire predictably blamed the Tory government saying: “Before Covid, we already had devastatingly high numbers in temporary accommodation as a direct result of 10 years of Conservative government, whose policies have pushed people into poverty.”

Thangam is ignoring the failure of successive Labour governments after 1997 to build social housing and the years of Labour attacks on what little remained of council housing stock. Labour and Tory alike have served private interest with no regard for the deteriorating housing conditions of working class people.

There are over 700,000 empty houses in Britain, 19,845 of them in London (the London properties alone are worth £9.4bn in total). In recent years, hundreds of thousands of half-built homes have been demolished in order to preserve high prices.

We demand:

1. The end of the ‘right to buy’ and the scrapping of all other schemes that fuel prices, create shortages and offer subsidies to landlords and developers.

2. The return of housing association and ‘non-profit’ properties to council ownership, the abolition of housing charities and the reintroduction of the legal right to decent, secure housing for all; slums, overcrowding and homelessness are an indictment on capitalism and a crime against humanity.

3. The confiscation of all empty homes and unfinished developments and their transformation into council housing.

4. The provision of at least 300,000 new council houses per year to end the crisis.

5. Guaranteed, secure and well-maintained social housing for all who want it, close to people’s work and families, and the abolition of divisive allocation criteria.

6. The introduction of a rent cap at 20 percent of minimum wage for all privately rented accommodation, and the scrapping of housing benefit (a subsidy to landlords that has helped to fuel rent rises).

7. The establishment of residents’ management committees to oversee planning and maintenance and ensure that all workers have access to adequate space, necessary amenities and decent facilities, including having usable and pleasant outdoor spaces and community halls.