Amidst the cacophony of outrage provoked by the Prime Minister’s pledge last week to extend the Right to Buy to housing association tenants, was an coruscating piece by Janice Turner in The Times (New Right to Buy betrays the Tories’ legacy 18 April 2015). In a scathing attack, she notes that “The party that preaches local autonomy will compel councils” (and) “the party that upholds property rights proposes seizing private assets and flogging them in a fire sale”, and warns that, London “will lose its last vestiges of social mix, the poor pushed out to Paris-style banlieues”. Of course, the paper itself was much more supportive of the policy. But the very fact that it carried such a critical opinion piece was noteworthy.
Extending the Right to Buy to housing association tenants has been proposed by a number of Tory spokespeople over the years, and so it really shouldn’t have come as any surprise to see it in the Conservative Party’s manifesto in such a tight election battle. Equally, forcing local authorities to sell-off their more valuable homes when they become vacant has been advocated by right-wing think tank, Policy Exchange, and a succession of Tory Housing Ministers have welcomed the suggestion. The PM has simply combined the policies in what he surely hoped would be a vote-winning offer to the two million or more housing association tenants. Continue reading
Z2K is pleased to be once again support Turn2Us’ annual Benefits Awareness Month. Turn2Us is a national charity that helps people in financial need gain access to welfare benefits and other financial support. Each year they run the Benefits Awareness Month campaign to raise awareness amongst low income households about their benefits entitlement. Despite the media representation that paints all low income families as benefit scroungers we regularly come across people in financial difficulties that are not claiming the benefits they are entitled to. This is why Benefits Awareness Month is so important. Continue reading
‘Anika’ was born and brought up in a middle class family in Uganda. At 14 she was caught kissing another girl at school. The 2 of them were publicly beaten with canes in front of the whole school. They were then expelled and Ms A went home to face an even worse beating from her father. For several years thereafter she experience repeated ‘corrective’ rape and beatings, until she was able to escape and to claim asylum in the UK.
Once she was granted asylum she was placed in bed and breakfast accommodation. She suffers very badly from post-traumatic stress disorder for which she is receiving support from the wonderful Helen Bamber Foundation, but was not assessed as being sufficiently ill or vulnerable to be entitled to social housing We helped her successfully appeal her points allocation and she has now been placed in social housing in Barking & Dagenham. She is still suffering badly, but having secure suitable accommodation has so improved her condition that she is now able to study so that she can, in due course, find a job and improve her situation further. Continue reading