Campaign calls for Miliband to stop attacks
A campaign which defends council housing has called on the Labour leadership to stop attacking the sector and instead push for a new wave of house building.
At a fringe event at the Labour conference organised by Defend Council Housing, calls were made to educate the shadow cabinet on the reality of living with benefits.
The calls came after Mr Miliband used his keynote speech to call for working people to be given housing priority and for the toughening of the welfare system to stop benefit cheats.
Austin Mitchell, chair of the House of Commons housing group, said: ‘Ed is no great orator, he will grow, but it is disappointing to see a Labour leader kicking off on the Daily Mail pleasing attacks on what are Labour’s own people.
‘What he said was wrong, the distinction between the deserving and undeserving poor was wrong, I think the proposal to make council housing available to people who have made a contribution to society and had jobs was wrong.
‘What he should have said, and indeed I have told him to say, is build council houses, build social housing. Because decent affordable housing is a basic part of social provision in any society.’
Heather Wakefield, Unison national secretary for local government unison, said: ‘I think that someone needs to educate the shadow cabinet on some issues, the undertake of benefits compared to the very high levels of tax evasions for example.
‘I think the way the shadow cabinet and coalition government are dealing with inequality, unemployment and poverty is to shift responsibility onto people they characterise as feckless, and that’s wrong.’