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Camden New Journal - COMMENT
Published: 11 June 2009
We must build up the pressure on PM for more housing

IT couldn’t have been put more concisely when Hampstead MP Glenda Jackson wrote in the Independent on Tuesday that what the BNP fear most is a “social housing revolution”.
By building homes and providing jobs, voters will turn back to Labour – or to other all-inclusive parties.
Feeling abandoned, Labour voters defected to the BNP in large enough numbers to open the door to them.
What a blot on Britain – that in the week we paid tribute to those who fell on D-Day in the Second World War the electorate should vote into the Euro parliament a party many of whose members honour Hitler.
Partly, the seed bed of BNP support is the failure of the main parties to openly debate the issue of immigration. The BNP sell the idea that immigrants are to blame for poor housing and lack of jobs.
In fact, the real causes are to be found in a badly run economy with misdirected priorities. This doesn’t mean that Britain should have an unrestrained open-door policy.
In the meantime, will Gordon Brown take heed of MPs like Glenda Jackson – and change tack on housing?
He promised months ago that he would rev up a housing programme.
Invariably, he slips in the word “social” which is taken to mean that housing would be provided by housing associations – not local government.
But this remains gesture politics. Housing associations – like most private companies – cannot raise sufficient liquid capital in today’s market to embark on any form of serious housing programme.
We are left with local government or special central government agencies which have a successful century-old history of building new towns and large-scale urban estates.
Last week Gordon Brown, in an interview with this newspaper, appeared to be willing to spend money on improved housing in Camden.
To drive home the point we wrote to the new Housing Minister this week .
He has promised to reply within a few days.
We hope he will simply say “Yes” – and open the sluice gates of finance to Camden Council for better housing in the borough.
The mayor says he will also write to the government. Good. The Lib-Dems, a bit slow off the mark, says they are “in the process” of writing a letter. Not so good.
Pressure, pressure, pressure – this is needed to force Gordon Brown to turn around. Again, in the Commons yesterday (Wednesday) he talked about a coming statement on “social housing”.
If he refuses to budge on housing he is doomed.

Send your letters to: The Letters Editor, Camden New Journal, 40 Camden Road, London, NW1 9DR or email to The deadline for letters is midday Tuesday. The editor regrets that anonymous letters cannot be published, although names and addresses can be withheld. Please include a full name, postal address and telephone number. Letters may be edited for reasons of space.

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