The Socialist 18 April 2018 |
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Young people need homes
Vote TUSC to fight youth homelessness and the housing crisis
Save Our Square protesters in Walthamstow, photo Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)
Tom Costello, TUSC local election candidate, Preston
Youth homelessness is on the rise. The housing crisis and delays in benefit payments under the Tories' 'universal credit' system are major factors.
92% of respondents in a survey by Homeless Link said welfare changes were worsening the problem. 55% of homelessness services reported increased demand over the last year, with a quarter of young men sleeping rough aged 16 or 17.
Meanwhile, the weak Tory government has made yet another u-turn - this time on its hated pledge to scrap housing benefit for 18 to 21-year-olds. Esther McVey, work and pensions secretary, said the main reason was a commitment to "providing young people with the support they need to get started with their working lives."
Nobody should see this as anything more than a smokescreen. One of the Tories' first moves in power in 2010 was to stop under-35s from claiming benefits for a home on their own. Their policies have consistently enriched developers and bosses at the expense of renters and workers.
Protesting against the effects of the housing crisis, photo Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)
The real reason for the Tories' turnaround is the tremendous levels of youth support for Jeremy Corbyn's policies. Many of the pledges in his general election manifesto, such as rent controls and building a million social and council homes, resonate massively with young people.
We are increasingly unable to find affordable housing in a system rigged for exploitative and parasitic investors. Current trends mean a third of Millennials will be stuck in the rent trap our entire lives, according to the Resolution Foundation.
May's government is in an exceptionally difficult situation. It is the main party of the super-rich and must stay faithful by carrying out attacks like these. But at the same time, its low popularity means it has to try to project the image of a party concerned with the wellbeing of young workers.
Last year's general election results were a humiliation for the Tories, and were spearheaded by young people and workers enthused by Corbyn's anti-austerity message. The 3 May council elections are an opportunity to fight for those policies at a local level.
It was Blairite Labour which introduced the 'local housing allowance' which limits housing benefit - under Tory recalculations, to imaginary levels often well below real private rents. And Labour councils, dominated by the right-wing enemies of Corbyn, have sold off council homes and helped push up private rents just like their Tory colleagues.
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is the anti-austerity electoral alliance including transport union RMT and the Socialist Party. We fight for capping private rents at genuinely affordable levels and building council homes instead of selling them off.
We are standing against some of the worst anti-Corbyn, pro-cuts councillors in support of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership and the policies which have enthused millions of young people.
Young people can be a leading force in the fight for socialist change. Vote TUSC where you can, and join the Socialist Party, to help achieve it.