Stop the Housing and Planning Bill

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Architects for Social Housing (ASH) have called a demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament in London on Tuesday 5th January at midday to oppose the Housing and Planning Bill, which will have devastating consequences for social housing in the UK. They write:

“The Housing and Planning Bill is one of the most dangerous and far-reaching pieces of legislation passed in this country in a long time, yet its true impact has been unreported in the mainstream press and is largely unknown to the general public.

If passed, the Bill will:

1) Replace the obligation to build homes for social rent with a duty to build starter homes capped at £450,000 in London and £250,000 in England;

2) Extend the Right to Buy to housing associations without the obligation to replace them, further depleting the number of hoems for social rent;

3) Compel local authorities to sell ‘high value’ housing, either transfering public housing into private hands or freeing up the land it sits on for property developers;

4) Force so-called ‘high income’ tenants with a total household income over £30,000 (£40,000 in London) to pay market rents;

5) Grant planning permission in principle for housing estates designated as such to be redeveloped as ‘brownfield land’;

6) Phase out secure tenancies and their succession to children and replace them with 2-5 year tenancies – with such tenancies also being applicable to tenants who have been ‘decanted’ for the purposes of redevelopment.

Below is the list of the more than 150 written submissions to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee in response to the Housing and Planning Bill, which shows just how widespread the concern is about its contents and legislation within the housing sector.

In response, Architects for Social Housing (ASH) are proposing holding a demonstration at the Houses of Parliament on the 5th of January, 2016, when the Bill will be read for the third and final time before being passed to the House of Lords.

Under the banner of ‘Kill the Housing Bill’, a number of housing groups and trades unions have already started a campaign against the Bill, and this demonstration is being proposed in conjunction with Defend Council Housing, whose details and petition can be found here: http://www.defendcouncilhousing.org.uk/dch/

Despite this widespread expression of opposition by both public and private bodies, none of the concerns expressed to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee altered, in any meaningful way, the contents of the Bill up to the report stage. Instead, the government has made plans to fast-track the Bill into law.

When the democratic process fails, as it has here, it’s our duty to take other measures to make ourselves heard. The press has largely ignored or misrepresented the true reach of the Bill and its consequences. It is for this reason that we have decided to hold a demonstration.

However, simply turning up on the day is not enough. In a very short space of time we need to build a campaign that has the support and backing of a popular opposition to the Bill whose focus is on stopping its passage into law.”

Facebook event here.

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