Conference 2018 – Housing after Grenfell

Housing – Affordability, Homelessness and Justice for Grenfell

Grenfell scarves
A sea of green scarves in solidarity with Grenfell #justice4grenfell
There were brilliant debates about a number of motions on housing. Our Eastern Region delegates proposed the motion on affordability – pointing out that the ‘market’ in housing is failing working people, especially the young. Lack of social housing and sky-high prices mean our members are forced to accept housing that meets their budget but not their needs. There is a complete lack of security or rent control for private tenants. London members congratulated Haringey, where a ‘regeneration’ scheme which would have devastated council housing has been defeated. Conference agreed a policy of at least 1 million council homes, increased investment an end to the Bedroom Tax and a number of other measures.

A debate on homelessness reported a 169% rise in rough sleepers since 2010. Some 3 million people are bieleved to be one step away from homelessness. This is no accident but is the result of years of austerity. Only building new homes would make any impact and Conference welcomed Jeremy Corbyn’s policy of building new homes.

Conference agreed to support the campaign for justice for the 72 who died in the Grenfell disaster. Delegate after delegate expressed outrage at the contempt the council leadership had shown for council tenants. Half of the survivors and those made homeless are still in emergency accommodation. Delegates from Kensington and Chelsea council branch described how their members were affected and how staff only heard that the ‘Tenant Management Organisation’ was to be disbanded from the media. There was a disgusting attempt to blame council staff (a number of whom were made homeless themselves by the fire) and firefighters for the deaths. It is really financial decisions by the Tory council, the weakening of health and safety legislation by the government and Boris Johnson’s closures of fire stations when he was Mayor that have caused the tragedy.

The whole of Conference, including the platform, stood with green scarves, the colour chosen by the Grenfell campaign, to remember the dead and show solidarity with the survivors who are fighting for justice. You can find news from Justice4Grenfell here