Chelmsford TUC

GENERAL MEETING

OCTOBER GENERAL MEETING

The guest speaker at Chelmsford TUC’s October meeting was Peter Challis, Unison National Officer for Housing. Peter opened his talk by highlighting the massive impact that many people will face when the changes to Tax Credits become operational. Many independent bodies share Unison’s concern that government cuts to tax credits will leave more than five million children significantly worse off. Two in five of all working families with dependent children could lose as much as £3,000 a year next April. In Chelmsford the number of working families with children claiming tax credits is 3,200, with 6,100 children being affected. Delegates noted that Simon Burns MP voted for the Government’s changes that will come into operation in April.

Peter devoted the rest of his talk to housing and said that there is a crisis of supply with a minimum of 240,000 homes required every year until 2033. The Government’s new strategy will only make the situation worse Peter said, as many people simply do not earn enough to be able to afford to buy. He then outlined further reasons for the housing crisis and detailed the massive changes that have taken place over recent years, including the huge increase in the rented sector. He argued that the Government had an ideological opposition to council houses. In a discussion delegates pointed out that this will change if the Labour Party is elected in 2015.

After thanking Peter for his talk delegates then discussed their future programme which included participation in Careers Day events at Boswell’s School and Brentwood County High School.