This is the page where we comment on the news and the articles presented on this site : the articles are welcome, and have taken time to research by the individual authors, but the question this site seeks to answer, if it can, is this :
How do we take the struggle forward, against entrenched and embedded forces that enrich themselves by denying change, and that deny justice, and oppress the poor ?
We also want to expose the tactics of the ruling class to resist change. One of the most effective tactics is talk : under pressure, appoint a commission. Take evidence. Debate and debate. This process also gives time for certain sections of the Press to change and distort what is being discussed, and gives time for a watering down and even rebuttal of the original arguments put forward for change.
And with time, legitimate anger subsides. Life has to go on, work must be done, children fed, and taken to school. The issue fades from view.
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The BBC has just highlighted how Section106 payments can be used to evade the responsibility to build social housing. Read the external article "Give us a bung". Because that is what it is. These payments were meant to be so that a local Council could put in traffic calming, or provide new schools and such, if a large estate was built. Quoting from the article :
The council's policy is for half of homes in large housing schemes to be available for rent or sale at below market rates.
The official target is to build 200 affordable units - flats or houses - each year between 2011 and 2021.
But the council's own figures show that since 2011-12, just 336 units have been built; in 2012-13, just four were completed.
At the same time, Kensington and Chelsea struck deals with developers to pay it nearly £60m.
Since 2011, the council has agreed payments worth £59.7m, in what are known as Section 106 agreements.
The council is allowed to charge developers a fee if their scheme would ordinarily be liable to include social housing but its backers can convince officials that to do so would make the proposal unviable.
That headline figure includes £47.3m in 2016 alone.
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New and important articles are being published all the time, backed by what must be considerable research by the authors.
The editor of this site would like to draw readers attention to the long article by Zoe Williams, published in the Guardian, entitled "The Real Cost of Regeneration". In this article she examines in detail the rebuilding of the Myatts Field north housing estate. We have the article referenced in External Articles, under the title Myatts Field north - another tale of corruption.
Let it be made clear that we are not suggesting money passed over in envelopes in dark corners, we accept that everything was done legally and above board.
But there is another, and far more subtle, type of corruption : where land is sold off, in a deal with developers, to make huge profits. Where social tenants are sidelined, where verbal promises are broken. This is the British way of corruption, make money first, fudge the issues with social housing, evade responsibilities such as proper inspection of new building, proper fire inspections and regulation, after all fire personnel have been cut.
And in the end, a deliberate and largely undocumented policy, certainly not debated in Parliament, of forcing social tenants into the private rented sector. Thus helping middle class landlords, and upper income landlords, to maintain their wealthy lifestyles. It amounts to a grinding tax on the poor.
Welcome to Capitalism.
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" We hear, but we do not listen"
If you were at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea’s first public council meeting since the fire at Grenfell Tower last week, you would have heard the testimony of Sandra Ruiz. “I’m not a survivor,” she said, “I’m speaking on behalf of my niece – 12-year-old Jessica Urbano, who is no longer with us.” Sandra wrote to the incoming council leader at the beginning of the month, on Jessica’s birthday, asking for “humility and humanity … that you go out and meet the families”. As of Wednesday, she had neither met the council leader nor received a response. “As the member of a family of someone who has deceased,” she said, “a simple acknowledgment to an email would have gone a long way.”