Housing – UNISON

2018 Eastern regional Conference passed the following motion.

2017 UNISON ADC endorsed a motion on housing. The housing crisis throughout our region is even greater now than it was last year.

Tory controlled authorities are reluctant to build social housing at affordable rent, (we used to call them “council houses”), because they see council estates as a source of Labour voters. They prefer to build “affordable” houses for sale.

Most people on our housing waiting lists cannot afford to buy even “affordable” homes at below “market value”. The reality is that they would not qualify for a mortgage even if they could afford the deposit.

Families are spending years on housing waiting lists living in overcrowded conditions, often because their grown-up children cannot afford to leave home. Like their parents, these young people cannot obtain a mortgage or save up a deposit. Older people are burdened with “bedroom tax” because they have more bedrooms than they need, but there are no smaller properties available for them to move in to. If there were, they could vacate the homes that the families in overcrowded conditions need.

We have people being placed in “Travelodge” and “bed and breakfast” accommodation as “emergency housing”, in places far away from their families and friends.

Why does this alarming situation exist? The stock of “social housing” has diminished because of the “right to buy” and the sanctions that prevented local authorities from using the money to build replacement homes. We need to build to build far more social housing at an affordable rent, rather than individuals and families being driven into the clutches of greedy, private landlords.

This motion calls on the Labour Groups of local authorities, Labour MPs and MEPs, to push for a massive increase in the construction of social housing at affordable rent. I urge you to support this motion.

Following debate the resolution was agreed unanimously by conference delegates.

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