Why have Scotland’s politicians failed to solve our chronic housing crisis?

by Róisín McLaren – SSP national co-spokesperson

Few would deny Scotland faces a housing crisis which inflicts real hardship on hundreds of thousands of families every day. With 200,000 people on the housing waiting list, it will take them 20 years, at the current rate, to secure decent accommodation – since fewer than 1,000 new homes were built for rent in the public sector last year.

With the average price of a house now £200,000, it is well out of reach of most people – at eight times the average wage.

Meanwhile, the average rent in the private sector is £650/month – and that gets you little more than a small flat.

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Leading Irish Housing Campaigner to speak at Socialist Voice Housing Forum

Housing activists attending the Scottish Socialist Voice housing forum later this month will hear of Irish experience on the issue from leading Dublin activist Aisling Hedderman.

Aisling has been in the thick of the militant fight to address Ireland’s housing crisis, a campaign that has seen community activism, occupations and mass street demonstrations.

Much of the activity has been led by the National Homeless Housing Coalition (NHHC) which brings together political parties, Trade unions, NGOs, non profit organisations and grassroots community groups.

Aisling explain: “We have held demonstrations in order to highlight the issue and recently pushed a bill to be passed by the Dáil as NHHC worked in collaboration with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions under the banner of the Raise the Roof campaign in which saw over 10,000 people on the streets for a lunch time rally in October 2018.“

“To date this has been one of the biggest mobilisations for housing.

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Scottish Socialist Voice Forum report

The Scottish Socialist Voice forum on Saturday 24th March was well-attended, filling out the Unison Office hall at Bell Street in Glasgow. From a sharp 10am start – a strong panel laid out their respective cases.

Chaired admirably by SSP executive member and Voice subscriptions organiser Christine McVicar, guests included Alex Rowley – deputy leader of Scottish Labour arguing for a federal solution, Larry Flanagan of the EIS union (approved by the EIS executive), the respected pro-independence economist Professor Margaret Cuthbert. Representing the SNP, both Alex Neil MSP and Chris Stephens MP – taking shifts.

SSP joint national spokesperson, Colin Fox provided the party’s pro-independence socialist perspective from the platform.

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Scottish Socialist Voice hosts “No Holds Barred” post-election Forum

The Scottish Socialist Voice – the only socialist newspaper printed, produced and published in Scotland – is hosting a “no holds barred” forum to discuss the outcome of the election and what it means for the left.

Topics will include the next moves for the independence movement, the implications of the rise of Corbynism and what needs to be done to combat the rise of Scottish conservatism and a Tory/DUP government.

The speakers at the event underscore the urgency of the challenges posed –  they include former Health Secretary Alex Neil MSP, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan, Scottish Labour’s deputy leader Alex Rowley MSP, leading economist Margaret Cuthbert and SSP spokesman Colin Fox.

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From Spain to Scotland, the power of money must be tamed

by Ken Ferguson

As the Tories unveil their assault on vital services, democratic rights and trade unions amidst the establishment pomp of the Queen’s speech, the need for resistance to this no-mandate government grows ever more urgent.

And the sweeping left gains in Spain’s regional elections by Podemos and related forces following the election of Syriza – now in the very crucible of struggle between people and profit – earlier this year, is surely clear evidence of the fact that the unfettered power of money can and must be challenged.

Here in Scotland, despite the SNP Westminster landslide, we face a growing assault from a government rejected by Scottish voters but determined to impose its neoliberal will on behalf of the bankers and speculators at the expense of workers,

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