This site is being re-launched as the home of the Glasgow Tenants and Residents Network (GTRN). There is currently no independent tenants or residents federations in Glasgow. We believe this has made us weaker collectively as both private and social landlords constantly increase rents, and government attacks benefits for those less well-off.
The first thing we need to make clear is that housing is in crisis. As social housing is decimated through demolition and lack of new-build, more and more people are forced into the private market where competition for housing has raised rents to scandalously high levels.
A recent report by the National Housing Federation (July, 2011) predicts that the UK housing market will soon be plunged into an unprecedented crisis with, “steep rises in the private rental sector, huge social housing waiting lists, and a house price boom – all fuelled by a chronic under-supply of homes”. In short, in both private and socially rented sectors, many face the ‘tyranny of rent’.
But that’s not all. So-called ‘regeneration’ schemes are changing our city on an unprecedented scale. Politicians promise us there will be ‘trickle-down’ effects from these changes, but in fact what we see is gentrification (‘clearance by cappuccino’), as speculators and developers move in privatizing the land, raising house prices yet more, and clearing working-class residents from their homes.
To this end, we are not fighting just for tenants’ rights, though that remains our major focus. We also need to challenge the wholesale privatization of space that we see around us, and that includes our parks, green spaces, community facilities and social services as well as our housing.
This site will be the ‘go-to’ site in Glasgow for all those interested in tenants and residents issues from an independent and critical perspective. We will be pro-active in developing grass-roots struggles for the right to space in the city. We will link up with and support other independent groups who are fighting for tenants and residents, helping to connect pre-existing struggles for better conditions to a wider critical perspective in Glasgow.
We will produce informative, investigative research to make evidence-based arguments along with tenants and residents groups. We will rescue Glasgow’s radical history by republishing stories and articles about Glasgow’s housing campaigns from the past. We will host events and public meetings that agitate for better conditions for tenants and residents; we want to help bring about real tenant and resident participation in the agendas that affect our lives.
The question is not just about the acute need for more public housing, amenities, and green spaces, it is also about what kind of places we want to live in. It’s about how we want to live.