By Michael Morgan, Coventry Socialist Party
On Tuesday, Coventry Socialist Party held a public meeting over zoom on the issue of housing. This was in commemoration to the 9th anniversary of the passing of Rob Windsor, a former socialist councillor in the city who amongst many other hard-fought campaigns also campaigned against the privatisation of Coventry’s council housing which has proved to be such a disaster for the city.
We were joined by Suzanne Muna, formerly the secretary of a Unite housing workers branch (and still on the committee), communications officer for SHAC (a network of tenants, residents, and workers in housing associations and cooperatives) and formerly a member of Unite the unions executive also.
She described how the privatisation of former council homes, as well as the role of housing associations in the lack of comfortable, genuinely affordable accommodation in the city. She also raised the issue of homelessness – pointing to the massive amounts of empty homes across the UK which go empty whilst accruing value for landlords who let them go empty.
The best way to solve these issues of empty houses and a lack of affordable accommodation is for affordable council housing to be made on a mass scale again.
With the relaunch of TUSC (Trade Union Socialist Coalition) the Socialist Party will work with trade unionists and community activists, such as those in tenants’ associations, to put housing at the forefront of our programme in the May elections. After the second world war housing was built on a mass scale to the needs of the community, and in Liverpool in the 1980s the Militant-led Labour city council built housing in a similar fashion. Not only were houses built, but community centres and halls to ensure communities could grow around new housing developments.
The discussion following from Suzanne’s talk was also important. With attendees talking about personal experiences of low quality and unaffordable housing. New developments in Coventry south were also discussed— where 1300 homes will be made – as attendees criticised the lack of affordable housing which will be mad available in the development.
Coventry Socialist Party will soon be posting an article on homelessness following this meeting, and will take the issues forward into the May elections through TUSC.