Next Saturday will see tenants from across the capital march to City Hall to demand solutions to the housing crisis and better housing for Londoners.
The March for Homes on 31 January has two assembly points – the East London ‘leg’ starts at 12 noon in Shoreditch; the South London ‘leg’ starts at 12 noon in Elephant & Castle plus an accessible short march. The two legs will meet with the short march at Potters Field SE1 and march together to protest at City Hall, where a rally will be held from 2pm.
The East London ‘leg’ is led by community housing campaigns Focus E15 and New Era – supported by a wide range of groups and individuals including tenant organisations, trade unions and housing campaigns, London MPs and London Assembly members. The March for Homes was initiated by Defend Council Housing, the South London People's Assembly and Unite Housing Workers.
The march aims to unite everyone that opposes government and mayoral policies causing soaring rents, loss of social housing and rising homelessness, and is demanding the following action to end the housing crisis:
- Rent controls
- Cut rents, not benefits
- Scrap the bedroom tax and benefit cap
- Affordable and secure homes for all
- Stop demolishing quality council homes and build new council houses
- Better pay and conditions for housing workers and better housing services
- Stop scapegoating immigrants and end discriminatory immigration checks for tenants
Supporters of the march include: Defend Council Housing, People’s Assembly (London); community campaigns New Era, Focus E15, Fred Wigg & John Walsh, Our West Hendon; renters campaigns Generation Rent, Hackney and Tower Hamlets private renters; trade unions BECTU and Unite Housing Workers; Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC), Radical Housing Network, Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) and the London Green Party.
Diane Abbott MP and London Assembly member Darren Johnson are also supporting the march. The march has a ‘student bloc’ with students of London universities calling for rent controls.
Jasmin Stone, Focus E15 Campaign, said: “I’m marching because we need to stand together side by side, hand in hand, fighting for decent homes for all! Focus E15 campaign are ready to make some noise on 31 January – please join us! This is the beginning of the end of the housing crisis.”
Eileen Short, national Chair of Defend Council Housing, said: “We are taking to the street to show the united demand for urgent action. Tenants from all tenures, public and private, campaigns and trade unions are determined to organise together to resist evictions. The growing housing movement will not swallow hollow promises and more empty luxury housing. The London Mayor and councils must act now to control rents and invest in council housing.”
Alastair Stephens, People’s Assembly (London), said: “Polls show that most people support rent controls, greater regulation of the private rented sector and a return to the mass building of council housing. Only these actions will solve the housing crisis. We will take these demands onto the streets on 31 January.”