Delegates debate solutions to the housing crisis

In a debate on the housing crisis and its particular impact on women yesterday afternoon, conference agreed a programme of campaigning to tackle the problems.

Manjula Kumari for the national women’s committee told delegates that the housing crisis would be a major issue next year in the general election.

The country didn’t just need “homes for private ownership: we need more council homes being built … We need stable house prices, as they have elsewhere in Europe”.

Ms Kumari noted that a proper council house building programme would create jobs – which would be hugely positive in other ways.

She said “that this matters to us”, and urged delegates to ensure that, when candidates come seeking election, they raise the issue of housing with them.

Eleanor Smith for the executive told delegates: “Two million families are waiting for a decent home that they can afford.”

But she questioned what an “affordable home” really means, and stressed that it is a phrase that has been hijacked by the government to cover its own failed housing policies.

Delegates also pointed out that rent controls were vital, along with the sort of increased regulation that Labour has mooted on increased security of tenure.

The motion called on the executive to work with the union’s Labour Link, “appropriate partner and community organisations” to lobby the current and future UK governments to take a new approach to housing.

That would include “providing secure, affordable, decent housing for all, by investing in affordable homes to boost the economy and solve the housing crisis”.

Key issue: Women and public spending cuts

Women in UNISON