|Do Co-operators care about the homeless?|
Co-operators care about the homeless?
Do they care about the fact that thousands of families with
children have to live in squalid bed and breakfast hotels?
Do they worry that so many young couples find it impossible to find
affordable flats and have to live with their in-laws?
Many do but far too many donít.
In years gone by, the three key issues that the Labour movement
fought for were health, housing and education.
After all Nye Bevan, founder of the NHS, was not only Minister of
Health but also Minister of Housing. Since
then, housing has slipped down the political agenda.
Nowadays more people own their own homes.
Harold Campbell Court Co-op in Dartford, Kent
|Some times people are a bit more frank. You get comments like, ďPeople around here donít want social housing. They know itíll go to asylum seekers or social security scroungers. It wonít be going to our kids etcí. Although these arguments are completely bogus, too many people believe them. It is up to all of us in the Labour and Co-operative movement to nail these lies and point out that housing allocation is done solely on the basis of housing need. The real scandal is the shortage of affordable housing and the fact that, after six years of a Labour government, house building is still at its lowest level since 1927 excluding the war years.|
attitudes are changing, at least at government level.
In the recently published Sustainable
Communities Plan produced by Deputy PM John Prescott the government
has committed itself to a substantial house building programme. For
example, here in
Co-operative Party has always given strong support to the co-operative
housing sector. So it was good
to see, at this yearís Party Conference in
|That being said, one should not forget the valuable support the Co-op Bank (part of the Group) has given to co-operative housing over many years. Importantly, the Co-op Group initiative was not a top-down one but came from its own grass roots members. Thatís the co-operative way. Perhaps the members of the other 40 consumer co-ops should follow suit and join members of the Co-op Group in campaigning for co-operative housing. I urge all members of all the independent regional societies to go along to their members meetings and put the case for co-operative housing. In that way they will be helping people in desperate housing need. Surely in the 21st century, every family should have the right to live in decent home?|
This article was first published in the Co-op News