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A safe, secure, affordable home is a right

Green plastic monopoly houses, by 123rf.comThe following is the text of Unite Assistant General Secretary Steve Turner’s speech to Labour’s conference in Manchester 

We welcome Labour’s policy statements and the clear commitments contained within it to build more homes – and we equally welcome Ed Miliband’s comments yesterday. However, we must never forget that a – safe – secure and affordable roof over your head is a human right – as fundamental as the right to life – to vote or for food on your table.

Many of our challenges pale into insignificance compared to the millions who make up today’s generation rent – and more so – the growing obscenity of families forced from their communities into insecure private rental or bed and breakfast emergency accommodation.

And what about our kids – living at home in childhood bedrooms – not to help struggling parents avoid the bedroom tax – that’s where they’ll stay until there 30s.

Meanwhile – the benefits cap is effectively class cleansing our inner cities – sanitising our streets for the wealthy – with many who remain forced – in new mixed developments – to enter their homes through ‘poor doors’ – like 19th century servants.

It’s a given that we need more homes and the current commitment is a good start. Housing is a win – win.

For every £1 invested in house building:

  • £2 is generated in economic output
  • 92 pence stays in the uk
  • 56 pence returns to the treasury in tax and benefit savings

And five jobs are created for each two homes built. These should be good jobs – safe jobs – union jobs. But to achieve our aim of a warmsafesecure and affordable home for all – we need social – not so called affordable – housing

If we’re going to put tax payers money into building homes not lining pockets, we have to:

  • Lift the borrowing cap on local authorities
  • Give local authorities funding to invest in local homes
  • Reclaim land banks – brownfield sites and derelict wastelands – not at market rates – but at the price paid for them.

And finally let’s not forget that as councils build homes others are being lost as quickly. Families are being forced away from friends and communities – priced out by private and so called affordable rents. We need to end the right to buy.


All of this can help us return to housing as homes – not as pensions and assets.


  1. Robert says:

    Miliband is basically the voice or the puppet of the new labour think tank Progress , Blair built sod all social housing Miliband talks about housing to buy he came out with everyone would own their own homes which of course is what Thatcher said when flogging off the council estates .

    Labour are not saying they will build sod all they will put nothing into it, what they hope is that with a labour government in power the building firms will all rush to build houses, they will if the people buy them, but how many social housing will be involved in this. I suspect none.

    The issue is do you believe labour, but of course today we have the Tories and the Labour party which we are told is not old labour not new labour and then it tells us we are the party of the NHS, look at Brown statement we are better together, we must not end the welfare state, this is the pratt who said Disability allowance was a wasted benefits and brought us workfare.

    Sorry but what are we talking about here is Progress not labour it was not New labour that died it was the labour party

  2. John reid says:

    I don’t think the Labour Party died, but if it did ,it came back to life. And if it did it wasn’t because of new labour, if the Labour Party died it was because Tony Benn wasn’t responsible for labour losing with a landslide of 144, and then saying we lost as it wasn’t left wing enough, and those who supported him

  3. David Ellis says:

    `A safe, secure, affordable home is a right’

    It should be a given.

    1. Robert says:

      yes but it does not meaning buying it, which is what Miliband is now saying. he blabbered on about the right to own your own home.

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