Housing motion adopted at July 2016 meeting

Bristol Trades Union Council recognises that to tackle the current Bristol housing crisis there needs to be a comprehensive set of policies and a plan of action put in place to cover the following four areas:

  1. Supply of Affordable Housing
    1. A massive programme of new council and social housing, to provide for all workers (not just the unemployed). This includes the possibility of high quality pre-fabs to tackle the urgent nature of the crisis.
    2. End the “Right to Buy” in council and social housing, but provide a “Right to Buy” for private tenants at a fixed 30% discount with not featherbedding for landlords.
    3. Abolish the cap on Housing benefit and applied to rent.
    4. Council powers to take control of, or compulsory purchase, (with changes to CPO regulations for local authorities) unoccupied properties or land. This will require clear information on local land banks.
    5. A programme of repair and investment in existing council properties.
    6. The reinstatement of a Council Direct Labour Organisation to undertake new builds and Repair.
    7. Planners to insist on Parker – Morris spatial standards, and best practice environmental standards.
    8. New housing in all sectors to be appropriate for the needs of contemporary society.

  2. Financial Affordable Housing
    1. Longer, and therefore more affordable mortgages, and a ban on mortgages tied to insurance policies. This is likely to need the establishment of public sector mortgage providers, whether local authorities, or national investment bank.
    2. Definition of “affordable” to be based on average wages (not a percentage of market value).
    3. The reinstatement of Section 106 (CIL) so that a proportion of profit from the development of land sold by local authorities is returned to them to facilitate the provision of amenities in those developments.
    4. Use Public Sector pension schemes to invest in social housing.

  3. Tenants Rights
    1. Rent controls that relate to earnings, not scarcity og housing.
    2. Encourage tenants’ democracy and self-organisation in both the private and public sectors.
    3. Registration and licensing of private landlords, along with practical measures to speed up prosecutions for non-compliance and other offences.
    4. Secure tenancies in all sectors, and fighting unfair evictions.
    5. State benefits to be paid to tenants, not landlords, unless the tenant choses to do so.

  4. Action on Homelessness
    1. Encourage and support homeless self-organisations
    2. Support and defend squatters.
    3. Urgent increase in Hostel and other accommodation in Bristol
    4. Support for Working Homeless by providing out of office benefit payments
    5. A Bristol “Tenancy Sustainment Service” to prevent vulnerable people falling into homelessness.
    6. Reform Housing Benefit and provide local welfare support.
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