Video of Launch Meeting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6fbpDhBDaI
The Radical Housing Network, in conjunction with environmental and
housing campaigners across the UK, are putting forward this charter of demands
because we believe that, despite the terrible problems we face, there are still
solutions available to build better communities and live safe secure healthy
lives, in a clean and sustainable environment – if we fight for them.
People’s Housing Charter
The UK’s housing
‘crisis’ is the result of decades of government failure to meet people’s
housing needs, while promoting ever greater inequality in access to land and
On any night in one
of the richest countries in the world, more than 10,000 homeless families are
living in a B&B while at least another 2500 people are sleeping on the
street. These statistics are unlikely to be disconnected from the fact that the
number of people in the notoriously insecure private rented sector has doubled
in the last 20 years to nearly 20% of all households.
This lack of secure
affordable homes is in large part the result of a mis-management of resources
rather than lack of housing. Property speculators can profit from leaving
hundreds of thousands of properties empty in the UK, and tax incentives promote
the ownership of second-homes and AirB&Bs that divert hundreds of thousands
more properties from becoming much needed homes.
Unequal access to
housing has been exacerbated over recent decades by the transfer of housing and
house-building from the public sector to private finance, and houses are
increasingly seen as an investment vehicle rather than a fundamental human
right. The failure of the ‘free market’’ to deliver the affordable houses that
people need has also been facilitated by a lack of real local democracy over
planning and development.
The government’s plan
to further loosen democratic control over the planning process needs to be seen
in this context of a country with extremely uneven distribution of wealth and
power, racial inequality, and an unwillingness to tackle the biggest threat of
all, which is the climate emergency.
Buildings produce no
less than 40 percent of the UK’s total carbon emissions, and construction
produces 63 percent of the UK’s 200million tonnes of rubbish a year. There is
no way to reduce carbon emissions without radically overhauling the buildings
we live in and what we build – but so long as there is profit in polluting
there will be no change of course without drastic and dramatic government
action. First and foremost in order to make far-reaching and rapid decisions
about how we use land then we need to own it – so the sale of public land has
to stop and the buying of private land for community use has to start.
In the process of
implementing these changes we could also create a much richer physical and
social environment that enhances all our lives.
We call on local and
national governments to adopt the following principles:
is a right for all. Everyone should have a home that is affordable and in
good repair, with enough living space and access to work, education and community
housing need not, and must not, contribute to the destruction of the
environment on which we all depend.
To achieve these
principles we need to adopt the following measures:
1. Convert long-term
vacant properties to social housing.
2. Refurbish and
repurpose – rather than demolish – existing buildings, to provide homes or to
revitalise empty high streets through community use.
3. Where new
buildings are necessary they must be built with sustainable materials and be truly
carbon neutral (without ‘carbon offset’ payments).
4. Introduce and
enforce rent controls and secure tenancies for all renters.
5. Tax the increasing
value of private land to fund public investment – a land tax.
6. Retrofit all
buildings to the highest environmental and safety standards including
insulation and affordable renewable energy schemes.
participatory democracy in all areas of planning and control over our homes.
This could include planning juries, citizen assemblies, tenant associations and