Wednesday, June 24, 2015

#uNDC15 Housing Composite

"President, Conference, John Gray, National Executive Committee speaking in favour of Composite F on Housing on behalf of the NEC

Conference, in that wonderful East London expression, it is the “bleedin’ obvious”, that housing is a key issue for our union.

Many of you here today, like me, work for housing organisations. So it has on the a direct impact on the terms and conditions of many members but all of us, regardless of whether we rent or buy, have to have somewhere to live, and lay down our hat.

So in a time of rapid change in the sector and a national housing crisis in terms of demand, quality, affordability and supply, as a union, we must to have a compelling and convincing political and campaigning strategy.

This strategy must have as a central plank the simple truth that we have not been building enough homes. For the last 5 years we have been building less that than half the homes we need to meet supply. But in truth, undersupply has been a growing problem for decades.

We must not only make the case for more and better homes but hammer the point to all political parties, that the only way to meet need is for the resumption of the post war political consensus, that it is the responsibility of the state to ensure that its people are decently housed.

It is hard to believe, conference, but in even my lifetime the Conservative Party, the tories, used to compete with Labour on who could build the most Council homes and who would charge the lowest rents.

To build quality homes that people can afford needs money and it needs subsidy. You need money up front to pay for it and you need a subsidy to make it affordable if you are on a low income. This is an unquestionable truth and therefore so is the need for a progressive system of taxation to pay for it.

Even after the disaster of May 7, this is not totally pie in the sky. Tory voters complain that their adult children cannot afford to leave the family home, that if they rent there is no money left over to save for a deposit. They know that expensive, insecure short term lets destroys communities and damages our economy. We must continue to press the national interest case for more and cheaper homes

Conference, the Composite sets out a comprehensive programme and strategy of campaign work which the NEC and this union is committed to campaign around, let me reiterate them - an increase in the supply of housing, particularly social housing; improving the quality of existing homes; effective regulation in the private rented sector; campaigning for a “living rent” – based on a system of rent controls alongside measures including landlord regulation and licensing, more secure tenancy agreements, and long-term solutions to welfare reform, including abolishing the hated bedroom tax.

Conference, please support this composite"

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