'Fourth Option' - investment to improve existing and build a new generation of first class council housing
'Dear Gordon 2' - Investment in council housing makes more sense than ever
'Dear Gordon 2' is the title of a new 40 page pamphlet published by Defend Council Housing. The foreward by Austin Mitchell MP is in the form of an Open Letter to Gordon Brown.

Get tenants groups, trade unions and councils to order and distribute copies of the pamphlet (£5, bulk orders £1.50) to inform the debate and step up the pressure on Ministers.

DCH Chair, Alan Walter, said "This pamphlet shows that we've got the arguments and there's strong support for first class council housing today. It's time government dropped the dogma and listened up! The 'Fourth Option' of direct investment in council housing has strong support and makes both economic and political sense."

Tenants, trade unions, councillors and MPs set out the case for government to invest in council housing - to improve existing, build a third generation of new council homes and make first class council housing sustainable for years to come.

Gordon Brown promised 3 million new homes last June. But the Housing and Regeneration Bill shows he's relying on the private sector to do the job and it never has delivered the decent, affordable, secure housing that people need. Today the market is in crisis with a credit crunch, negative equity and rising reposessions, new development mothballed and buy to let homes left empty.

There are 1.67 million households on council housing waiting lists and the Local Government Association predicts this will rise to 2 million by 2010. 2.5 million existing council tenants have rejected privatisation but many are still living in homes needing modernising and improvement yet the government dogmatically refuses to invest in first class public housing.

Last year the campaign wrote an open letter to Gordon Brown when he was still chancellor published as a pamphlet, 'Dear Gordon'. The new publication updates the arguments in the light of the current crisis and the government's failure to head the demands made by tenants, trade unions, councillors and MPs - plus three consecutive Labour Party conferences.

Gordon Brown has several clocks ticking. The housing crisis is one that he could begin to seriously tackle this week by announcing a new financial framework for council housing, tabling government amendments to the Housing & Regeneration Bill in the Lords and setting out clear principles for the local authority HRA Subsidy review announced last December to put real commitment behind Yvette Cooper's promise "to ensure that we have a sustainable, long term system for financing council housing".

For background information on the demand for the 'Fourth Option' for council housing and who supports the campaign see www.defendcouncilhousing.org.uk

DCH is planning to run stalls and speak at a wide range of conferences and events in the coming months. We need help from supporters to distribute material and it's an opportunity to meet and discuss how the campaign is going locally and nationally. DCH will be at the following union conferences: CWU, GMB, PCS, UCATT, UNISON, UNITE as well as the LEAP/Another World is Possible 'Beyond the Market Economy' conference, Compass 'Make Equality Matter' conference and the Marxism2008 festival. Come and find us - better still help out on the stall...

LEAP Conference: Beyond the Market Economy
Left Economics Advisory PanelLEAP and Another World is Possible are co-hosting an economics conference ‘Beyond the Market Economy’ on Saturday 24th May 2008, 11am-4:30pm at Birkbeck College, University of London, Malet Street, WC1E 7HX. Click here to see a map of the location. Another World is Possible

Plenary speakers include Tony Benn and John McDonnell MP. Download the full conference agenda. Sub-plenaries include: Securing housing for all; Ending corporate power: 21st century models of social ownership; Drowning in debt: transforming the financial system; and Defending pay, pensions and jobs in a global market economy. Download full details of the sub-plenaries.

You can register online or by sending a cheque for £10 (£5 unwaged), payable to ‘Another World is Possible’, to LRC, PO Box 2378, London, E5 9QU.


How do we deliver EQUALITY in the 21st century?
The wealthiest 1% of the population owns 21% of the nation’s wealth; the bottom 50% own 7%; recently it’s been shown that health inequalities have grown; the government faces controversy over abolition of the 10p tax rate; this year’s budget pledged an extra £1.7BN in the fight against child poverty: whilst a recent report warned that child poverty could double over the next 2 decades; 67% of ethnic minority communities live in the 88 most deprived wards; the median gender pay gap has reduced from 17.4% in 1997 to 12.6% in 2007. Make EQUALITY matter:

Helping make the case for GREATER EQUALITY will be major speakers throughout the day including: NEAL LAWSON, DEREK SIMPSON, ED MILIBAND, RUTH LISTER, DOUGLAS ALEXANDER, BEATRIX CAMPBELL, DANNY DORLING, JOHN HARRIS, HELENA KENNEDY, POLLY TOYNBEE, JON TRICKETT, JON CRUDDAS and CHUKA UMUNNA who’ll be joined by other leading figures from across the left and wider progressive community.

With sessions organised by over 35 of the UK’s prominent progressive organisations all helping to debate how we deliver A FAIRER MORE EQUAL SOCIETY including:
Fawcett, Searchlight, NUT, Socialist Health Association, UNISON, The Fabian Society, Progress, Crisis, NUS, Demos, Liberty, Unions Together, Child Poverty Action Group, Amnesty, ippr, nef, Migrants Rights Network, Barrow Cadbury Trust, Red Pepper, RENEWAL, Tribune, Friends of the Earth, Labour Left Briefing, Soundings, Age Concern, War on Want, Electoral Reform Society, Make Votes Count.

HELD IN ASSOCIATION WITH - UNITE, THE GUARDIAN AND NEW STATESMAN - THE COMPASS CONFERENCE IS RETURNING THIS JUNE: come and get passionate about GREATER EQUALITY at the political highlight of the summer, the biggest annual gathering of the left taking place after the local and London elections and before Labour conference, at a brand new venue, with new facilities including a modern air-conditioned 1000 seat auditorium.

This is
BORN FREE AND EQUAL taking place on SATURDAY 14 JUNE 2008 at the Institute of Education, London.

TO BOOK YOUR PLACE ONLINE: do so before Friday 25 April and get £2 off ticket prices - visit the newly updated conference pages at:

A fairer more equal society is possible…come and help debate it this summer!

Marxism is a five-day (3-7 July) political festival hosted by the SWP, featuring 200 forums and debates plus film, gigs, theatre and exhibitions.

Download the timetable for meetings at Marxism and the whole Marxism brochure including the timetable, details of key speakers, information about courses and social events. It's over 6MB in size, so it will be very slow if you don't have broadband.

Thousands of people to come together with authors, artists, leading activists and campaigners to discuss what's happening in the world and debate how we can mount an effective challenge to global capitalism.

"Marxism, at which I speak at every year, is one of the most important universities of the labour movement. It brings together a vast range of people. It is an honour to be invited, and I am very much looking forward to the discussion and debate that will go on" Tony Benn

Speakers confirmed so far include: * Tony Benn president of Stop the War Coalition * David Hilliard leading Black Panther * Tariq Ali 1968 veteran activist & author * Howard Zinn historian * Moazzam Begg former Guantanamo prisoner * John Bellamy Foster environmentalist * Nick Davies award-winning journalist * Wendy Savage pro-choice campaigner * Mark Serwotka PCS General Secretary * Paul Gilroy author There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack * Lindsey German convenor, Stop the War Coalition * Ilan Pappe author, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine * Sally Hunt AUT General Secretary * Sami Ramadani Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation * Alex Callinicos author, New Mandarins of American Power * Steven Rose scientist and author, Not in our Genes * Ghada Karmi author and Palestinian activist * Hossam el-Hamalawy Egyptian blogger and activist * Haifa Zangana Iraqi writer * Ben Fine author, Marx’s Capital * Michael Rosen poet and children's laureate * Jacqueline Rose author Myths of Zion * Walden Bello Focus on the Global South * Zoe Williams Guardian columnist * Chris Bambery editor Socialist Worker * Billy Hayes CWU General Secretary * Melissa Benn journalist and writer * Steve Bell cartoonist * Kim Moody author, US Labour in Trouble and Transition * Michael Billington theatre critic * Jeremy Dear General Secretary NUJ * Gilbert Achcar author, Clash of Barbarisms * Chris Harman author, People's History of the World * Lemn Sissay poet * Peter Kennard and Cat Picton Phillips artists * John Mcdonnell MP * István Mészáros author, Marx’s Theory of Alienation * Rikki Beadle Blair actor, playwright and director * Mike Gonzalez author, Che Guevara and the Cuban Revolution and many more…

Help raise the DCH profile at tenants, union and other conferences - see event details below.

Encourage Labour Party members and affiliated unions to submit DCH amendments to Labour draft policy document on housing.

Background information

DCH Dear Gordon 2 and Case for Council Housing in 21st Century Britain pamphlets set out the arguments

Current campaign newspaper

Early Day Motion Investment in Council Housing (EDM 368) showing broad support amongst MPs across all parties.

House of Commons Council Housing Group report and Third Reading Briefing on Housing & Regeneration Bill