This press release was issued on 29/09/11

Stop privatisation; improve existing and build a new generation of first class council housing
Press Statement for release on 29 Sep 2011
Protests reject means testing for council housing
Tenants will protest at threats to make the unemployed wait longer for housing. The first target is Westminster council which is leading a drive against those without work - see Jobless go to the back of housing queue
This follows the successful campaigning by tenants, trade unions and councillors at Labour's conference, which today rejected attacks on tenants' rights and housing for those out of work. Labour delegates unanimously agreed today: 'that defending the rights of social tenants and the delivery of more social housing must be campaigning priorities for Labour'. The motion says government plans to abolish secure tenancies for council housing would 'put social tenants at risk of eviction should they get a promotion or a pay rise'.
Following the conference decision, Shadow Communities Minister Caroline Flint said she wanted to see council housing 'once again serve its original purpose' as housing of choice. Council housing was designed to provide General Needs housing available for all, without means testing or work conditions.
This contrasts with Flint's 2008 proposals to make council housing conditional on finding work, and with the Labour leader's call on Tuesday, for those without jobs to be penalised in housing waiting lists. A Defend Council Housing fringe meeting last night had condemned plans to discriminate against those out of work, as called for by Housing Minister Grant Shapps and Labour leader Ed Miliband.
Gail Cartmail, Unite assistant General Secretary said: 'The idea of the deserving and the undeserving tenant is an absolute disgrace.'
Austin Mitchell MP said:'Making it harder for people out of work to get housing at a time of mass job losses is absolutely wrong.'
Eileen Short, chair of Defend Council Housing said: 'This is a nasty, divisive and dishonest blame game that villifies tenants but does nothing to build the new council homes we need.'
Notes Tenants and other campaigners are organising a protest at Westminster Council's next meeting, 2.11.11
Tenants, trade unions and councillors campaigned in and outside Labour's conference against attacks on tenants and for a council house building programme.
Speakers at Defend Council Housing meeting Wed 28th Sept in Quaker Meeting House Liverpool: Austin Mitchell MP, Gail Cartmail Unite Assistant General Secretary; Heather Wakefield Unison national secretary Local government; Jimmy Gamble UCATT executive, Owen Jones author, Chavs: the Demonisation of the Working Class; Eileen Short chair Defend Council Housing
Caroline Flint, Shadow Communities Minister, said today: 'We have ambitions for social housing: to once again serve its original purpose. A positive choice for many. Homes for heroes, homes for those in need, homes for the hardworking.'
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