We Need a Strategy to Tackle the Housing Crisis – Labour Campaign for Council Housing Motion


“We should be demanding now, and continuously, a government strategy that will ensure that every citizen has access to a decent home that is affordable and appropriate to their needs.”

By Carol Hayton, Labour Campaign for Council Housing.

There is no doubt, as our motion states, that the Covid pandemic has exacerbated the impact of the severe housing crisis affecting our country; this is acknowledged by a broad range of academics, think-tanks, commentators, and housing bodies.

The impact of Covid-19, on the increasing numbers of people housed in unaffordable, insecure, substandard or overcrowded accommodation, both in health and economic terms, has highlighted why urgent action needs to be taken.  And yet, the political inertia, demonstrated by successive governments, resulting in a long term failure to address this crisis, remains. This must change.

In 2019 there was hope of change when Labour delivered a manifesto that contained a housing strategy with a genuine determination to deal with the housing crisis. If Labour had won the election in 2019, we would now have a government that would be delivering a housing strategy that would change the lives of millions for the better.  But we did not win that election and those lives were not changed for the better. The combination of the pandemic and a callous Tory Government has, for so many, made life worse. 

That’s why we should not lose sight of that determination to improve lives. This motion calls upon the 2019 housing commitment to be retained in our policy and next manifesto. But it calls for more than that, it will be at least three years before we see the next Labour government and we should not sit back and let the crisis get worse until then. We should be demanding now, and continuously, a government strategy that will ensure that every citizen has access to a decent home that is affordable and appropriate to their needs.

We should expose the abject failure of the Conservatives to address the housing crisis and highlight the ways in which their housing strategy has made the crisis worse; the savage cuts to grant funding; the home ownership initiatives that have driven up prices and made homes even less affordable for so many and the planning policies that allow unfettered and unregulated development that delivers massive profits for developers and property speculators, and the slums of tomorrow to our communities. 

The resolution of the housing crisis is an issue on which Labour can and must lead. Please support out motion.  

Labour Campaign for Council Housing 

You can read the full text of the model resolution below

Council Housing

The Covid pandemic has aggravated the severe economic and health impacts of the housing crisis. In December 2020 the Health Foundation identified that prior to the pandemic a third of households in England had housing problems relating to overcrowding, affordability and poor quality housing. Overcrowding has been a key factor in the spread of Covid.

Prior to the pandemic, thousands of households were struggling with their housing costs in the unaffordable and insecure private rented sector. As a result of Covid many more households have suffered reduced income, with 450,000 additional households falling behind on their housing payments.

When the temporary ban on evictions was lifted the Resolution Foundation revealed that 400,000 renting households had been served with eviction notices and millions more were worried about their housing costs. The ending of the Furlough scheme will make matters worse, with predictions of a wave of evictions and a huge increase in homelessness.

The Conservative government has done little to support those struggling to access decent, affordable and secure housing to rent.

Conference, therefore, calls upon the Labour Party to demand that the government takes action now to end the housing crisis by:

• Delivering the building of 150,000 social rent homes each year, including 100,000 council homes funded by £10 billion grant a year.

• Ending ‘right to buy’.

• Reviewing council housing debt to address underfunding of housing revenue accounts.

Conference also calls upon Labour to place these actions at the centre of its housing policies.

If you manage to get your CLP to pass the resolution please let us know at labourcouncilhousingcampaign@gmail.com

The Whittington Estate, a social housing project located in the North London borough of Camden, proposed in the 1960s and built in the 1970s. (Labour Outlook Archive)

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