Fight to defend homeless services
Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1152/33201
From The Socialist newspaper, October 20, 2021
Workers on strike at One Housing in 2013. Photo: Helen Pattison (Click to enlarge)
Paul Kershaw, President, Branch LE1111 of Unite Housing Workers
Councils in England have warned that the cost of homeless services will increase by 27.2% over the next three years. The Tory-led Association of Local Governments (LGA) says there is “additional pressure on costs of almost £ 8bn”.
The LGA’s statement aims to extract more money from the government during the next spending review. They calculate that without an increase from the central government, the council tax would have to increase by a quarter just to cover the increased costs. They warn that vital services, such as care for the elderly and disabled, child protection, homelessness prevention, waste and recycling, and road maintenance are under threat.
But speeches at the Conservative conference confirm that the government has an avalanche of post-Covid austerity in the pipeline. We must prepare to stand up for homeless services. We urgently need to fight for the necessary funding and a salary increase for local government employees and those working in locally funded services.
Homelessness services are currently overwhelmed, before the full impact of the end of the eviction ban, the end of holidays and the end of universal credit are felt. Local government employees and staff in local government funded services have come under downward pressure on wages and terms.
The industrial response
Homeless workers are coming together to fight for change. We are committed to building a workplace response with the possibility of industrial action. But we also demand that elected officials take a stand and fight against austerity.
As Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham wrote on LocalGov.co.uk in June, ahead of her election: “It is not enough for councilors to shrug and pass the buck … It is perfectly fine for them. possible to use their reserves and borrowing powers to fill the gaps, while campaigning for adequate central government funding to protect municipal services. “
Sharon pledged to call on Unite’s executive board “to support the candidates who oppose cuts to the jobs and services of Unite members, as well as the boards and advisers who fight against them.” Where existing Labor advisers are accustomed to attacking member jobs and salaries, Unite should be prepared to support anti-austerity candidates regardless of Labor, to fight for workers’ interests.
A local council prepared to budget to meet the needs of workers could:
- Using council borrowing powers to fund capital spending to build safe and environmentally friendly social housing, while campaigning for the government to divert grants to private developers to fund a mass affordable public housing program
- Use council powers to register private landlords and create council-run rental agencies to tackle repair standards, high rents and overcrowding of private rental accommodation
- Restore the full benefits of the housing tax, funded by municipal reserves and not through increased housing taxes, and campaign for the government to reimburse municipalities that do so
- Provide homeless sleepers with immediate, decent and comfortable accommodation and support to transform their lives
- Take immediate action on siding and fire safety – doing repair work and billing the government. They could obligatorily acquire the buildings of private owners and social landlords who do not act immediately either.
- Pay council employees and those employed in council funded services a minimum wage of £ 15 per hour and ensure union recognition
In The Socialist from October 20, 2021:
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Gwent valleys strikes Stagecoach bus drivers for a fair wage
Reinstate Gary Evans! Llanelli postal workers strike
AGA Napo 2021: the Union on the war footing
Scunthorpe strikes to pay
Popular budgets – a socialist response to cruel cuts
Brighton workers’ bin in sight against Green-led council
Fight to defend homeless services
Ealing People’s Budget – we can resist the cuts
Northampton People’s Budget – cuts and privatization a failed strategy
Fighting cuts in the ballot box in Liverpool
Fall of apartheid
The fall of apartheid in South Africa
COP26: unions must fight for a socialist transition to renewables
Save the planet from the capitalist climate catastrophe
Austria: Chancellor Kurz resigns amid corruption allegations
Obituary – Tony Davison: “I work for Militant, but Laing’s pays my salary”
“Are you the socialist taxi driver?”
Housing crisis: Conservatives and Labor are not on our side
Liverpool arms fair: hundreds of protesters challenge police ‘dispersal zone’
Hackney Children’s Centers – further cuts to education are devastating
Biggest protest yet to save Stratford Circus
Doncaster: Vigil condemns violence against women
I am unemployed: for me, the vacancy crisis is a lie
TV Review: Squid Game
Le Socialiste October 20, 2021 |
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