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Housing: rethink is needed

Letters from the Fenland Citizen, fenlandcitizen.co.uk, @FenlandCit on Twitter
Letters from the Fenland Citizen, fenlandcitizen.co.uk, @FenlandCit on Twitter

Homelessness has increased by almost a third in England and, with a generation rent sleeping on sofas and over-40s locked out of mortgage finance, the need for a radical rethink of housing policy is urgent.

Leaving housing policy to parliament alone has clearly failed.

What is needed is a radical change: a new law creating binding duties on government to guarantee to everyone a right to shelter and a right of access to adequate housing.

A range of smaller economies, like the Netherlands, guarantee a right to adequate housing.

Many Latin American countries also protect a right to housing – including Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay.

The right to housing is regarded by these states as one of a range of social rights underpinning democracy and the rule of law.

The number of people sleeping rough in England has risen by almost a third in a year.

An estimated 3,569 people are sleeping on streets on any one night, government figures show.

Although protected in different ways, they all share a rejection of the British commodification of housing in favour of a right to housing.

A right to housing means that, if the government fails in its duties, individuals and communities can apply to the courts.

This is one of the reasons that the Irish Constitutional Convention in 2014 voted for a right to housing.

The Irish want the additional layer of protection that the courts offer, if parliament decides to do nothing. Although, globally, the right has not always been effective, enshrining a right to housing offers a much greater prospect of success in Britain – because the government, unlike some other countries, has a strong tradition of implementing court decisions.

Also, despite the cuts to civil legal aid and the increase in court costs, there is pro bono legal assistance and a high rate of literacy, so that the laws are known.

It would ensure that no-one has to sleep on the streets.

This is not fanciful thinking – rather it is the concrete duty undertaken by a growing number of governments, all of which are less wealthy than the UK.

John White,

via email.

eu debate

Nations were meant to be independent

June 23 will be a critical date as to whether we decide to remain in or leave the European Union. In effect to go our own way.

It will be an opportunity to rule ourselves rather than be dictated to politically and economically by a land-grabbing organisation that has made, and is making, preponderous errors and does not know where to turn.

The EU flounders badly over matters of its own making, compounded by a struggling Euro and the folly of open borders.

A Polish patriot once declared: “Your nation is like your health – once you lose it you come to realise its worth.” He is absolutely right.

For more than 800 years England made its own laws on how to survive against the odds and even rescue other nations from speculative greed.

It is all about governing ourselves and we are past masters at that.

It has been a hard road and we have honed it to near perfection rather than giving way to dubious unelected so-called leaders over the water.

On the European continent so many changes have taken place in the last 300 years that a sense of nationality among countries has all but ceased to exist and nothing works properly any more. Do we want that? No!

Cometh the hour we will never have the opportunity again of saving our traditions and admired culture that other nations would love to emulate. Do we really want to be a lackey of Brussels?

Take no notice of the scaremongers. What we need are properly regulated borders.

From time immemorial nations were devised as independent countries.

They were devised to be just that, and miraculously given their own languages. It was meant to be so.

Trevor Bevis,


n Please note: Letters for consideration for publication in the Fenland Citizen’s Readers’ Views columns must be with us by 9am on Friday.

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