There is a massive housing crisis across the UK as
a result of Government policies. Too little social housing
is being built and apart from Scotland, those that are
built are being sold off. In many places rents are unaffordable
and the bedroom tax has created more poverty and homelessness.
Delegates backed a call for government and Labour
councils to stop implementing the bedroom tax; for an
end the privatisation of social housing; for enforced
rent and quality controls over private landlords and
for a massive social house build programme.
Seconding a wide ranging composite which included
Aberdeenshire’s motion, first time conference
speaker Ann Gray told conference that homes are for
people, not profits.
Ann said, “We condemn the UK Government’s
housing and financial policies that have focused upon
“Buy To Let” as the main source of rented
housing in Scotland and across the UK.
“The result has been growing inequality and poverty
across Scotland and the UK, as working people struggle
with ever rising housing costs, poor quality housing
and insecure tenancies.
She slammed the UK Government’s proposal to
have another fire sale of Council and Housing Association
homes, and warned that “from my own experience
as a former housing officer, the lack of affordable
housing marginalises people, breaks up families and
“Homes that are affordable, secure, fit for purpose
with a housing stock that is responsive to the needs
of local communities are essential to a fair society,”
said Ann, adding with a shudder as she spoke the name,
that since the days of Thatcher the private sector has
failed miserably to deliver these homes for people.
She reminded delegates that the Council House and
Social House building programmes in the 20th century
not only housed people, they also provided jobs that
helped the Scottish and UK economy to recover from the
Great Depression - new secure homes that revitalised
local communities, peoples’ sense of identity
and offered hope to millions for a better, healthier
“Now in the 21st Century we need a system of
rent controls based in a living rent, security of tenure
and rented housing quality standards in partnership
with a public sector led house building programme to
deliver homes for people, reduce welfare costs and allow
rental income to be reinvested in Scotland’s infrastructure
instead of being dumped in offshore tax havens.”
Ann called for an end to the unfair bedroom tax which
once again hits the most vulnerable hardest; an end
to the sell-off of our public housing stock; and a campaign
for a new council and social homes building programme
here in Scotland and across the UK.