A major part of what leads to segregation in society, by wealth and power, is not part of our integration debate. Why not? Today our society is more divided by wealth than it has been in a century. Mostly this divide between people who own housing, and those who do not.

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Grenfell Tower, a huge block of social housing flats in West London, caught fire on the 14th June 2017, killing almost 80 people. This national tragedy, which has seen Londoners mobilise to help those displaced and bereaved, has also elicited protests and anger across the capital due to the fact that the incident might have been prevented if warning signs hadn’t been ignored.

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The Grenfell Tower tragedy is still unfolding. What we know now is at least six people are dead and 74 injured, 20 critically. Going by previous disasters such as this, it will take months or perhaps years for the full story to emerge, longer still for any individuals to be held accountable if they are found to be at fault.

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Fears have been raised that criminal offences could go unreported after it was revealed that the Metropolitan police has been referring victims of crime over to the Home Office for immigration enforcement.

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“In the race to rent?” That’s what the advert from Rightmove asked at my local bus stop. It made me angry – housing is a right, not a race. But in the last two decades, instead of building housing for people, we’ve built a housing crisis. One which renters are at the sharp end of.

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New book: The Rent Trap

Posted: November 25, 2015 in articles, housing

Over the past year I’ve been busy working on a jointly-authored book for the newly-incarnated Left Book Club.

The Rent Trap brings together a lot of the work myself and Rosie Walker have been doing on housing as journalists and activists. We interviewed everyone from policy-makers to people living in the worst housing conditions, and many degrees in between. What we are aiming to do is show why we have fallen into a rent trap, and look at some of the things we can do about it. Publication is due in March 2016. To find out more, check out the Left Book Club site.

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Housing immigration checks introduced in the 2014 Immigration Act are set to be ramped up under the Conservatives. This is a short and quick comment piece written up for the Independent in my day-job capacity soon after the announcement was made. Suffice to say I’m not a fan of the policy.

The Government’s new plan to jail “rogue landlords” for renting out homes to undocumented migrants is an extremely unjust measure for everyone involved in the private housing market. As well as harming undocumented people and needlessly punishing those who rent to them, it will only make help fuel discrimination among landlords and letting agents.”

Read the full article here.