Refurbishment Is the Dirty Word We Should Be Using, Just Look at the Achilles Street Estate

22 October 2019 — Novara Media

Anita Strasser

by Andy Worthington 

Imagine living on a council estate and being given a ballot on the proposed destruction of your home as part of a ‘regeneration’ plan. Imagine that the council makes all kinds of lavish promises regarding your future housing and security, but then refuses to back up these promises with anything resembling a legally-binding contract. This is what’s happening at Achilles Street.

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How Britain keeps people homeless

5 October 2019 — Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Almost all two-bedroom homes available for rent across England, Scotland and Wales are too expensive for families on housing benefit, extensive research by the Bureau has found. Our reporters collected the details of more than 62,000 rental listings and found that less than 6% were affordable when mapped against the local housing benefit rates, which have been frozen since 2016.
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How a Community in North London Is Fighting for the Housing It Needs by Cecilia Keating

27 May 2019 — Novara Media

At least 50 people gave up a Saturday afternoon to discuss the fate of a former hospital in north London last month. 

At a crowded open meeting, local people moved from one table to the next, giving their opinions on a housing development planned for the site currently occupied by St Ann’s Hospital in south Tottenham.

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Revealed: The thousands of public spaces sold by cash-strapped councils

14 March 2019 — Bureau of Investigative Journalism

12,000+ public buildings and spaces
sold off in the last five years

In a major collaboration involving dozens of reporters around the country and a week of stories with Huff Post UK, the Bureau revealed the true scale of the local government funding crisis. It has become so dire that councils are being forced to sell thousands of public spaces, such as libraries, community centres and playgrounds – and many are using the money to fund redundancies. Read the full investigation here.
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UK: Stop Revenge Evictions

27 November 2014 — 38 Degrees

Damp, dodgy wiring, or a broken boiler. Imagine asking your landlord to fix a problem that isn’t your fault. But instead of fixing it, they hand you an eviction notice instead.

Last year 200,000 people were forced out of their homes in this way. [1] It’s called revenge eviction. And right now, it’s completely legal.
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UK: The Police, Squat Evictions and Housing Precarity By Izzy Köksal

8 May 2014 — New Left Project

A recent tweet by Lambeth MPS brags about the eviction of a squatted doctors surgery in Brixton on a rainy January morning: ‘another crime generator closed down!’ they exclaimed. Happily, the twitter account was met with a barrage of abuse, but this tweet shows how the police are often found intervening in what is a civil matter to make people homeless. UKBA officers had got an invitation to this eviction as well, meaning that people were not just made homeless but detained and imprisoned because of their immigration status. In the run up to the eviction Lambeth police had been harassing the squatters through paying regular visits to the squat and trying to look through the windows.

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London Renters and the Right to the City By Tom Gann

23 February 2014 — New Left Project

The New Economics Foundation’s recent report Distant Neighbours makes some grim predictions about Islington in the near future, claiming that “by 2020 a family need to earn more than £90,000 to afford market rents” in the area. Alongside the very rich, the report suggests there will still be a group “on low incomes at the bottom living in social housing”. Even more worryingly, it is quite possible that the report, which also argues that mental health will worsen along with social isolation, may even be rather too sanguine about Islington’s near future, not least because it takes for granted the maintenance of social housing and a genuinely affordable level of social rent.

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People’s Inquiry – a grassroots vision for our NHS? By John Lister

14 October 2013 — Our NHS

As the NHS groans under cuts and chaotic reorganisation, government bodies are calling for yet more ‘radical change‘ and ‘difficult decisions’. Will their answers be hospital closures and privatisations? The new People’s Inquiry is calling for evidence to support a different way forward. 

The ‘Bedroom Tax’: A Two-Pronged Attack By Insa Koch

1 September 2013 — New Left Project

The ‘bedroom tax’, which was implemented on the 1 April 2013, has been widely criticised as a fundamental attack on the welfare state in Britain. It exposes many people to the risk of losing their houses, threatening to break up family homes and communities. But there is also another problem with the ‘bedroom tax’ which has been largely overlooked: in addition to undermining the welfare state, it fosters feelings of resentment which may well reinforce social divisions among the most marginalised sectors of society.

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Eviction Brixton: creating housing insecurity in London By Hannah Schling

22 July 2013 — Open Security

The marketisation of access to housing security is central to the increasingly normative experience of housing precarity in London. Lambeth Council’s eviction of long-term squatted and short-life housing co-op communities is pouring fuel onto the fire: making people homeless to clear the way for public housing stock sell-offs.

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