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Friday 17th
posted by Joana Ramiro in Britain

HOUSING activists and experts united yesterday to plan a campaign designed to smash property speculators during a Mipim "counter conference".

The Cities for People Not for Profit conference kicked off yesterday evening with speakers from local and international campaigns addressing issues like evictions and the demolition of council estates.

New Economics Foundation researcher James Meadway said: "The conference matters because while the developers and speculators are licking their chops at the prospect of yet more fat gains to be squeezed out of London's property market, it's the rest of society that pay for their profits."

Mr Meadway added that there is a need for rent controls and an investment in public housing to solve the housing crisis.

"We need to think about strategies to take on and beat the speculators", he told the Star.

The firebrand mothers from the Focus E15 campaign were at the event along campaigners from the Lambeth United Housing Co-op and Unite Community.

"If we are going to build the homes that we need, then we have to build council housing", said Defend Council Housing chair Eileen Short.

Ms Short - who will be speaking at today's session on councils and privatisation - argued that local authorities have to be held accountable for mismanagement and the sale of public property.

"It has to be public ownership, it has to be secure housing that we can actually afford - and that is only going to happen if we can build a movement to fight privatisation of our estates", she added.