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Saturday 12th
posted by Joana Ramiro in Britain

TUC pledges national demonstration support after hearing sex-for-rent and eviction atrocities

WOMEN vowed yesterday to be at the forefront of the fightback against the Tories’ “pernicious” Housing and Planning Bill, ahead of Sunday’s thousands-strong national demonstration.

The pledge was made as all unions present at the TUC Women’s Conference gave their passionate support to a motion to fight the Bill.

GMB delegate Rebecca Winson shared repulsive stories of women bribed to perform sex acts in return for lower rent and other atrocities.

“I know women who were evicted for being a ‘woman who answers back,’ women who have been offered a rent reduction for performing certain ‘services,’ disabled single parents whom councils evict and then refuse to rehome somewhere suitable,” said Ms Winson.

“I was evicted for complaining to the council when the ceiling of my flat fell through due to a flood and the landlord refused to fix it.

“And I have dozens of friends who can’t even move out of their childhood bedroom because they can’t afford to leave home.”

Ms Winson urged sisters to join Sunday’s march in London, describing the Housing Bill as “a pernicious piece of legislation which will make the already horrendous housing crisis 10 times worse.”

Her words were echoed by shadow housing minister John Healey, who promised to stand by Britain’s working people if the Bill is passed.

The Bill’s pay-to-stay policy requires council tenants earning over £30,000 to pay private-sector rents or be thrown out.

It will hit low and middle-income workers the hardest, with teachers, nurses and firefighters all at risk of having to choose between their jobs and their homes.

“George Osborne’s tenant tax will single out working households on modest incomes and hike their rents,” said Mr Healey.

“It’s the tradespeople, service workers and public-sector workers who are the backbone of our local economies that are going to be hit hardest.

“This tenant tax is also a big disincentive to getting a job or taking on more hours.

“It means nurses, plumbers, firemen and teachers could be faced with a choice between quitting their job or losing their home.

“Labour will continue to lead the opposition to these extreme plans. George Osborne must now see sense and think again.”

Over 2,000 people are expected to march through London on Sunday against the Bill.

Organiser Glyn Robbins told the Star that the day was “a chance to send a message to the government about how wrong the Housing and Planning Bill was.

“For some years now it’s been clear that it’s not just about the number of houses built, it’s what type and who for,” he said.

“More homes are built in [London’s] Tower Hamlets than anywhere in Europe, but housing waiting lists haven’t budged.”

And he added: “I hope John Healey, with lots of other Labour politicians, as well as people from other political parties and none will be on the demonstration.”