Council housing is more important than ever, but faces major threats in 2013. Councils will decide whether to remove some Secure Tenancies and introduce up to 80% market rents. And rent rises plus benefit cuts threaten more poverty, debt, evictions and homelessness.
Tenants are demanding genuine consultation on these and other changes to Landlord/Tenancy strategies, including access to the waiting list and housing for the homeless. Councils have already changed or postponed changes which undermine tenants' rights, due to lobbying and campaigns.
Rent rises and benefit cuts will hit council tenants in 2013. Many councils are proposing rent rises well over inflation. And Benefit changes from April 2013 will:
* cut 14-25% off housing benefit for up to 600,000 tenants hit by the 'bedroom tax'
* housing benefit will be cut for anyone over a new total benefit cap
* Council Tax Benefit reductions mean millions will have to pay more
And from October 2013 Universal Credit will cut benefit further for some, including disabled people, households with two earners, mothers and people paying for childcare.
DCH is organising with Disabled people against Cuts (DPAC), PCS and Unite trade unions and others to link up tenants and other groups hit by these changes. Tenants and community organisations, trade unions and local and national campaigns will meet on 19 Jan to co-ordinate this.
What you can do
* Come along, or delegate someone from your tenants group, union, political or campaign to the Benefit Justice organising meeting 12-2.00 pm Sat 19 Jan at Unite House, 128 Theobald's Road,London WC1X 8TN (nearest tube Holborn). Email email@example.com to say who is coming.
* Organise a meeting or lobby your Council to demand they reject fixed term tenancies and up to 80% market rents
* Contact DCH to help campaign against stock transfer proposals in Durham and Lewisham
* Let us know what your council is doing and if you can help local or national campaigning
* Order latest DCH newspaperand posters
* Contact DCH phone 020 3371 2031 or email firstname.lastname@example.org)
* Direct investment in council housing as a matter of urgency - write off historic HRA housing debt to enable new council housing
* Defend security of tenure for existing and future tenants
* No eviction of tenants in rent arrears due to Housing Benefit cuts
* Investment in a massive programme of new and improved, energy-efficient council house building