A major demonstration against an upcoming law which could result in council tenants booted out of their houses is planned to happen in London today. Critics have described the Housing Bill as "an all-out attack on council housing" and will leave tenants unable to afford sharp rises in rent.
The controversial bill is designed by the government to force council households who earn more than £30,000 in total to pay rent closer to market rates. The stated aim is to turn "generation rent" into "generation buy", but critics believe it will simply force tenants unable to afford to live in pricey areas out of their homes.
The bill also gives Westminster the power to set the levels of rent local authorities must charge what it calls "high-income social tenants". The sliding scale starts at households with incomes of £30,000 and runs up to £50,000, at which point the market rate for the property will be charged. Other measures included in the controversial bill include removal of people's right to stay in council housing indefinitely and a sell-off of valuable council-owned properties.
James Murray, the Labour councillor in charge of Islington housing, told Sky News that the bill represents "an all-out attack on council housing".
"We can't underestimate the effect this is going to have," he said. "This is going to mean that places like inner London are going to be hollowed out because homes which are considered to be high value by the government will be forcibly sold off on the open market, meaning that the amount of homes we have to let to people on low or middle incomes will be dramatically reduced."
The march will start in Lincoln's Inn Fields in London at midday, before wending its way across London and arriving at Parliament Square by 3pm. An accessible route from Downing Street to the same end point is also planned from half past one. Thousands of people are expected to attend.
According to the organisers, "the Housing Bill aims to destroy council housing and will hit everyone on an ordinary income", which "will mean higher rents, less security, and less chance of a home you can afford".
"The Bill condemns millions to a lifetime of insecure, expensive private renting. Everyone deserves a decent home: but landlords, developers and the rich will be the only ones to benefit from this bill. We must kill the Bill!"