Eileen Short

Housing activists plan for action

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A summit meeting in London last month to plan next steps against the Housing and Planning Act drew 250 people in a serious and determined mood. They included council, housing association, co-op and private tenants, union members and several local councillors.

Among them was the elected mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, who repeated his council’s opposition to the Act and called on other councils to join the campaign against it.

Can we kill the Housing Bill?

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The Tory government's Housing and Planning Bill, currently making its way through parliament, is a disaster for tenants. Housing activist Eileen Short looks at the potential consequences of the bill, and at the growing movement against it by tenants, trade unionists and campaigners.

Last month 10,000 people demonstrated in central London against the Housing and Planning Bill. A national movement is growing against the government’s plans. Some of the biggest meetings for a generation have been packed with angry people worried about the future of their homes, families and communities. A broad alliance of tenants (council, housing association and private), trade unionists and housing activists is uniting behind a banner that says, “Kill the Housing Bill; Secure homes for all; Control rents”.

Interview with Danny Dorling

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All that is Solid, published by Allen Lane, £20.00

What was your motivation for writing a book about housing?

One reason was to get more people interested in what's going on in society, particularly those who are on average income or those who are doing quite well. In general they are not bothered about many things, but they are bothered about housing.

Unemployment affects only a small proportion of the population, but the difficulty of paying the rent, of paying the mortgage, affects about 90 percent of people - including people who've actually managed to buy a house outright.

Pauperland

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Jeremy Seabrook, Hurst, £20.00

This book is a strange mix. By looking at how Britain's rulers have tried to manage the poor over centuries, and relating this to current official and popular attitudes, Pauperland does a real service.

Seabrook shows how fear of poverty has been used to keep the working poor in their place, the shifts back and forth between charitable concern and vicious demonising, and how the rich fear the angry and not the passive poor.

Let's Build The Houses-Quick!

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Cathy Davis and Alan Wigfield

This pamphlet is timely. In the face of a mounting housing crisis, it takes a sharp look at Labour's 1997-2010 housing record, at current government policies and their consequences, and at alternative approaches.

Looking at the motive behind the coalition government's policies, it links the attacks we are now facing on rents, tenancies and benefits directly to pre-election plotting by leading Tories, think-tanks and housing association chief executives, who worked out plans for housing deregulation, partly aimed at getting hold of the valuable land council estates occupy.

Housing Benefit Briefing

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The government claims that the Bill for housing benefit is out of control and is introducing major cuts. Eileen Short examines the myths that surround housing benefit and looks at the impact that the cuts will have.

What is housing benefit?
Housing benefit is a benefit for people who can't afford their rent and it is means-tested according to income. It is called housing benefit for council and housing association tenants and is paid directly to the landlord. For private tenants it is calculated according to the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) and may be paid to the landlord or to the tenant.

Housing: Street Spirit

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Tenant activist Eileen Short explains why council housing was such a historic achievement - and why we must campaign to defend it.

I can now report that Britain is enjoying its longest period of sustained growth since the beginning of the industrial revolution' - Chancellor Gordon Brown, Budget Speech, 17 March 2004.

So why is housing such a problem?

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