Revolutionary Communist Group statement on Grenfell Tower

justice for Grenfell

Justice for Grenfell! Safe and secure housing for all!

(updated 19:06, 17/06/17)

The Revolutionary Communist Group stands in solidarity with the residents of Grenfell Tower following the devastating fire that destroyed so many lives, loved ones, homes and possessions. The ‘official’ death toll is so far confirmed at over 50, but it is clear that the real figure could be anything up to 200. There are no words to express our sympathy and horror at what has happened.

 

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State of the working class

focus e15 campaing

This year’s Sunday Times Rich List revealed that there are now 134 billionaires in Britain. Fifteen years ago, there were only 21. At the same time – as capitalism sinks into its deepest crisis in a century – the mass of the working class is being forced into insecure, low-paid employment in the sixth richest country in the world.

Work

● In-work poverty has reached a record high at 7.4 million workers, a million more than in 2010.

● 905,000 people were on zero-hours contracts in December 2016, a 13% year-on-year rise.

● 4.8 million people are now considered self-employed and the majority of them are in precarious work.

● 1.56 million people are unemployed.

 

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Fighting ‘No DSS’

no dss

A recent investigation by the BBC found that just 2% of all rental properties listed on the website SpareRoom.com were available without a ‘no DSS’ clause. ‘No DSS’ is a dated term which refers to the old Department of Social Security, now replaced by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP); it bars anyone claiming housing benefit from being able to even apply for a private rental. The BBC figure tallies with the experience of FRFI comrades in Manchester: we have found one private letting agent listing 57 of its 58 properties as ‘no housing benefit, no DSS’. The problem is not new: in 2012, the Manchester Evening News reported people claiming some form of benefit were excluded from four in five rentals in the region. The degree of exclusion is growing: membership surveys by the National Landlords Association reveal that the numbers willing to let properties to recipients of Universal Credit (UC) or Local Housing Allowance (LHA) has fallen from 46% in 2010 to 18% today.

 

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Reduced overall benefit cap: thousands face homelessness

68,000 families with 200,000 children have now been hit with the reduction in the Overall Benefit Cap (OBC) that was implemented over a three-month period to January 2017. These are among the poorest families in the country – yet on average they are having £58 a week taken away from them. The measure, which hits single parent families in particular, is one of the most punitive cuts in benefits implemented by the Tory government, and will inevitably lead to mounting rent arrears, court action, eviction and homelessness for thousands. Robert Clough reports.

 

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The market cannot ‘fix’ the housing crisis

No eviction

On 7 February shares in Britain’s biggest housebuilders soared as the government published its White Paper on housing; estate agent Savills saw a rise of 3.8%. The White Paper ensures that the drive for vast profits for multinational housing parasites will continue by intensifying the grab for public land, speeding up planning permission and throwing out planning regulations on quality and size. Key to the process will be the willingness of local councils to collaborate with private companies in delivering homes for market rent.

 

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