Good housing essential to all our well-being

#ulgc16 Delegates called on the union leadership to continue the campaign against the Tory government’s housing strategy, to press for socially progressive housing policies and to reinstate the National Housing Forum.

Duncan Smith
Duncan Smith – Photo by Kenny McCallum

Speaker after speaker condemned rising homelessness, acute housing shortages and unaffordable housing costs leading to ever-increasing pressures on members working in the sector. Many brought their individual experiences to the debate.

Edinburgh’s Duncan Smith, himself a housing worker highlighted the importance of good housing for good health, children’s development and all round well-being.

He told delegates that when, some years ago, Edinburgh Council decided to privatise council housing in the city, UNISON’s Housing Forum had been important for advice on how to mount the branch campaign to fight this and allowed the branch to contribute to national policy too.

“In Edinburgh, with the help of tenants we were able to beat back privatisation,” he said, to applause.

Duncan added however, “Although we have some progressive housing legislation in Scotland there are homeless people on the streets of Edinburgh just like here in Brighton.”

He called for the union to reinstate the Housing forum “so that we can develop national strategy and a national campaign and make sure UNISON plays its part in tackling the crisis in housing.”

Local Government Reports by Kate Ramsden, Marie Quigley and John Stevenson

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