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Monday 11th
posted by Conrad Landin in Britain

COUNCIL houses must be built at “post-war-period levels” in order to end the desperate shortage and slash high prices, the TUC Congress said yesterday.

A motion passed unanimously at the labour movement’s annual gathering called for an “end to the privatisation of building control.”

The resolution, put forward by public-sector union Unison, said a swathe of new “high-quality, energy-efficient, accessible homes” should be constructed.

This should be done on the same scale as in the aftermath of the second world war, a period when the then Labour government funded a massive programme of new homes.

“It is an utter disgrace that working people cannot afford decent housing,” National Education Union delegate Louise Atkinson declared.

“Teachers unable to live near to their schools are travelling for hours before standing in front of a class.”

According to Unison, there are 1.5 million fewer homes available at rents that low-income people can afford compared to 38 years ago.

Delegates also backed a “redirection of public funds” away from subsidising private landlords through housing benefit to “capital investment” in new-build houses.

Unite’s Jayne Taylor added: “Councils need to be able to suspend the right to buy. Housing is one of the clear examples of the folly, the narrow-mindedness that prizes the market above all else.”

Last year, Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell said councils should cut construction giants out of house-building contracts and “go back to direct labour.”