At the GMB Congress this week, Chair of the GMB Young Members’ Network, David Hamblin, moved Motion 177 calling on the GMB to formally support The Labour Campaign to End Homelessness. We are pleased to be able to announce that the motion was passed successfully!
David has been a huge supporter of our campaign from the very beginning, as has the GMB. The campaign – and the people we aim to help – have benefited hugely from the activism, resources and solidarity of the union. We look forward to continuing to campaign together.
The text of David’s brilliant speech in support of the motion is below:
“I have long maintained that politics is about the food in your mouth and the roof over your head – if there isn’t even that then our politics must resolve the issue. We recognise that a society in which homelessness exists is a society unfinished, a society which is not worthy of the name. The selling off of council houses – the uncertainty of work and more have all contributed to a rise in those without homes. The Labour Campaign to End Homelessness endeavours to resolve the blight of homelessness on people’s lives.
“The fact of the matter is that there is no way of dealing with the problem of rented houses in modern society except by public ownership” so spoke Nye Bevan. There’s is a campaign which recognise collective issues require collective resolutions.
The GMB already have strong links with the Labour Campaign to End Homelessness. The sterling work of Sister Patricia Pinheiro de Villa and Brothers Sam Stopp & Martin Smith are an exemplar of GMB’s Trade Union values.
As Chair of the GMB Young Members network it would be remiss of me not to highlight the debilitating destruction that homelessness wreaks upon Youth. There are a multitude of factors which may result in homelessness for a young person and, as such, we in the Trade Union Movement & the political sphere must establish a number of ways to address such factors.
Support for those who identify as LGBTQ who find themselves in hostile homes, those who are fleeing domestic violence, those whose circumstancese take a turn for the worse, and more.
The GMB Young Members’ Fair Deal calls for a real living wage and an end to zero hours contracts. We aim to address the economic disparity with which so many Young People are afflicted – through the malaise of capitalism and austerity. In such a system the economic means of keeping a roof over your head are beyond many. Yet when they lose their homes it falls on Local Authorities to provide suport – Local Authorities who are themselves under the sustained economic cosh of austerity and may not have the capacity.
This is why support for the Labour Campaign to End Homelessness is so critical. The work it does ranges from being out on the streets, including weekly outreach sessions in London, to lobbying for policies which would make a material difference to the lives of the homeless. The campaign is not a panecea for the immediate end of homelessness but it is more than a step towards such an end.
I took the liberty of quoting Aneurin Bevan at the start of this speech – it is not quite the indulgence it may first seem to be. As Minister for Health, Bevan is rightly lauded for his role in establishing the NHS, but housing also fell within his remit.
“It doesn’t seem to have dawned upon some people in this country that the vast majority of us can’t afford to buy a house.” Over half-a-century on we find ourselves in the same position. Let us ensure that such an issue does not exist in another fifty years’ time.
We must fight the scourge of homlessness in multiple spheres; not least of which by providing public and tangible support for the Labour Campaign to End Homelessness. The Labour Party was borne out of the Trade Union movement and it is right and it is proper that we support those Labour campaigns which embody our values.
I was proud to speak at the Wales March for Homes rally in Cardiff as a Trade Unionist, as a Labour Party member, as Youth. We sought support for building council housing, establishing rent controls, and scrapping rip-off agency charges. Measures to make a material difference.
The Labour Campaign to End Homelessness stands in the finest tradition of the GMB and the Labour movement as a whole. Bevan proclaimed that “now we are the builders”. Let us in turn be the builders of today. Of homes, of solidarity, of a society which is indeed worthy of the name.
We shall build such a society the way the Labour movement knows how. By hand and by brain. By the strength of our union and the solidarity we bear for our brothers & sisters.
I urge you to support this motion and the Labour Campaign to End Homelessness.