Leeds campaigners rally against new law which will ‘effectively end social housing’

Protesters against the 'bedroom tax' at a Hands Off Our Homes demonstration in Leeds in 2014.
Protesters against the 'bedroom tax' at a Hands Off Our Homes demonstration in Leeds in 2014.
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A group of campaigners in Leeds will be holding a Housing Summit this weekend to oppose the government’s planned cuts in social housing.

Hands Off Our Homes will bring together tenants, housing providers and trade unionists to protest against the Housing and Planning Bill, which is currently going through Parliament.

The legislation has helped to spark similar meetings and protests across the country and has also drawn criticism from the House of Lords.

The Summit takes place 
tomorrow (March 12) at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Lower Briggate. It will kick off with an introduction by Dr Quintin Bradley of Leeds Beckett University, housing consultant Joe Halewood, and Steve Carey, head of benefits at Leeds City Council.

Campaigners argue that the Right to Buy and the sale of ‘high-value’ council houses will create a severe shortage of affordable homes for locals.

Commenting on the event, Ellen Robottom, a spokeswoman for Hands Off Our Homes, said: “Our immediate priority is to stop the Housing and Planning Bill because, essentially, it is a direct attack on the availability of social housing.

“We are also against the end of security of tenure for new council tenants.

“If that stays in the bill, new tenants will only be entitled to housing for two to five years and then after that, they have got to reapply.

“It will cause massive anxiety and lack of security for people in social housing. It will effectively mean the end of affordable housing in this country.

“There are also lots of other measures outside of the Housing Bill that are all converging on the social security of tenants both present and future. One of them is the household benefit cap.

“Outside London the cap is 20,000 a year.

“That may sound like a lot if you are a single with no children. But it means that anybody with a housing need of three bedrooms or more won’t be able to come anywhere near paying their rent.”

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