Why we need to build a new housing consensus for affordable and decent homes for all

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2017 National Delegate Conference
7 February 2017
Carried as Amended

The neverending UK housing crisis means that millions of workers and their families live in expensive, overcrowded and insecure homes.

Often these homes are long distances away from work or family and involve many hours of daily commutes.

Conversely UNISON research has shown many families have grown up children living with them not out of choice, but of necessity as they cannot afford to buy or rent a home of their own.

Recently the Government have announced a number of high profile schemes and incentives to fix the housing crisis. All have failed.

Home ownership is on a downwards spiral, increasingly numbers of people in work are reliant on housing benefit and the number of social housing homes available shrinks year by year.

The chief reason for this housing failure is that there is no long a political consensus in the UK on the need for direct investment and subsidy in public housing.

From 1945 to the 1970’s political parties of all kinds used to compete on how many affordable homes they could build each year.

This was because there was a widespread consensus that it was the duty of the state to ensure that everyone was securely and safely housed.

In order to build homes we must rebuild this consensus.

Conference resolves to call upon the National Executive Council to campaign with other unions and residents to restore direct investment in public housing. To make the case that this is the only way to solve the housing crisis.

To ask our Labour Link to work to make a new housing consensus a top issue within the Labour Party taking into consideration the following principles:

1)Subsidy should be redirected from housing benefit being paid to landlords to building public homes;

2)Governments and councils must borrow to invest in a mass house building programme. Not only building homes but putting people back into work to build them and therefore pumping money back into the economy;

3)An increase in the supply of public homes would help bring down the cost of home ownership and make this a real option once again in expensive areas;

4)Not only should homes be well built, environmentally efficient, affordable and secure but to be in a decent condition. Public landlords including councils and housing associations must be accountable and democratic to all stakeholders including having a meaningful resident involvement and include the recognition of trade unions.