Hackney and Tower Hamlets residents, gathered outside Parliament on Monday to protest against changes to housing benefits.
If implemented, changes to council housing will mean an end to secure tenancies, with some tenants having to pay up to an 80 per cent market rent. This could result in rash of evictions following the changes.
The demonstration was organised by Defend Council Housing, a national group with prominent members in Lewisham and Tower Hamlets.
It is spearheading the Housing Emergency campaign, which aims to maintain pressure on the government until council-housing policy is reformed.
Eileen Short, a Tower Hamlets resident and DCH committee member, told EastLondonLines: “All of these things are attacking the tenants and doing nothing about the housing crisis. The changes are already driving people out of high-rent areas.”
“The government has broken its word, they said they would respect the rights of tenants. Immediately this has gone out of the window, but there are disagreements in the coalition … there is support from Labour, Liberal Democrats and even some Conservatives.”
Monday’s demonstration encouraged tenants to contact their MP and challenge the proposed measures.
Many councils have already agreed to boycott key pieces of the legislation.
Hackney Council has announced they will not be introducing fixed term tenancies, or the ‘Affordable Rent Tenure’ that could lead to tenants paying 80 per cent of market rents.
Hackney Council told ELL they consider themselves, “an authority committed to social housing”. They also have plans in motion to, “deliver over 2,000 new homes on estates across the borough”.
Short said: “The only way to tackle this is to regulate private rent and build more social housing. With a united alliance of people we will make our voice heard locally.”
In the past year there have been three similar demonstrations to Monday’s event and more are planned.