Yesterday we headed down to tax-dodgers Starbucks to protest the impact of the cuts on people’s access to housing. We were taking part in a day of action highlighting how the public sector spending cuts are hitting women hardest.
With 1m more women than men being affected by the housing benefit cuts and two-thirds of the public sector jobs being lost belonging to women, the impact is being unevenly felt.
Our plan was to ‘move in’ the Starbucks and hold a housewarming party – but unfortunately they and the police had other ideas – when we arrived, no one was being allowed in. But that didn’t stop our party.
With net curtains hung up in the window, soft furnishings arranged and a bathroom installed, the fifty-plus party goers enjoyed ‘new home’ muffins and lemonade, and heard from a range of groups involved in resisting the attack on housing – including Disabled People Against the Cuts, London Coalition Against Poverty, Fuel Poverty Action, Housing Solidarity and Eviction Resistance.
There was also a chance to take part in a ‘tenants rights’ quiz organised by Hackney renters, Digs, and to sign a hosewarming card to Starbucks, demanding they pay up.
Having prevented anyone from entering the store for an hour, we headed across the road to Foxtons, another far-from-innocent high street name, to protest their rip-off fees and role in driving up rents.
Of course, this isn’t the end, but the beginning of a long battle for our right to decent housing. Join us next week, ahead of a meeting by the Greater London Assembly housing committee to make sure tenants voices are heard. More details are coming soon, but in the meantime, add your renting nightmares message to our Christmas card now.