• Short Summary

    Every British Government since the Second World War has vowed to cure Britain housing problems, clear the slums, and end home-lessness.

  • Description

    SV Squatters barricade themselves against eviction

    GV PAN Squatters' houses

    SV Squatter looks from window

    SV Squatter on balcony

    SV Women at window

    CU Sign on wall

    SV Slogan daubed on gateway

    CU Woman sent by social services

    SV Other squatters barricading themselves in

    SV INTERIOR Young mother and child in dingy room

    MV Young father looking on

    GV EXT. Squatters' houses

    GV EXT. Uncompleted housing development and blocks of flats (2 shots)

    CU Fork lift carrying bricks and piles of bricks (3 shots)

    GV Suburban guest house

    SV and CU Young mother and child out of guest house

    CU ZOOM OUT houses for sale (5 shots)

    GV Expensive houses in rich suburb (3 shots)

    SV Old terraced houses (4 shots)

    Initials OS/2044 OS/2107

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: Every British Government since the Second World War has vowed to cure Britain housing problems, clear the slums, and end home-lessness.

    That is just one of the pledges that British Governments have been unable to carry out.

    The housing problem has remained, and grown steadily worse, even though in the past 10 years between 250,000 and 350,000 new houses have been built each year, the birth rate has been steadily falling and there is now zero population growth.

    Last month Lord Goodman, chairman of the British Housing Corporation said the living conditions of many millions of British people were a "hideous sore which disfigured and degraded modern society." He claimed that there were 4 million homes in Britain which were unfit for human habitation, either because they were beyond repair, or because they lacked essential facilities.

    Lord Goodman said the "appalling price" of bad housing was impossible to assess, but inevitably produced bad citizens who could not be blamed for the social resentment that was fostered by such poor living conditions He called for a "passionate approach" to the nation's housing problems.

    London is estimated to be short of 130,000 homes, and several local councils in inner London have been placing people who have nowhere to go into hotels and guest houses at a cost of thousands of pounds a week.

    Squatting in unoccupied houses is on the increase, and voluntary agencies say they know of young couples, in full time though low paid employment, sleeping in cars because they cannot afford proper accommodation. Many of them are in essential service industries.

    The human misery involved is obvious. The statistics of the situation are equally clear.

    The economic situation has badly affected the building trade. An emergency report says three quarters of the industry is running into trouble and many firms face bankruptcy. There have been estimates that as many as 240,000 building warhorse could be unemployed by the Spring.

    Only 9,000 house were started in Britain in August - just half the number for the same month last year. Unless there is a dramatic increase this winter, which is unlikely, 1974 will have been the worst year for house building for a decade.

    By the end of September Britain will have a gigantic stockpile of 735 million unsold, unused bricks - and that's in spite of the closure of more than 20 brickyards involving considerable redundancies.

    At the same time, lack of finance from building societies and high interest rates has made it difficult to sell houses, increasing the pressure still further.

    The position is now so desperate that Mr. Anthony Crosland, Minister for the Environment, has suggested bringing back prefabricated housing as a short-term solution. More than 150,000 "prefabs" made of aluminium or concrete, were built in the first five years after the Second World War, but most have now been replaced. Planners and architects thought those days and the low standards were gone for good.

    Longer-term measures are on the way from London's local authority -the Greater London Council.

    They have announced a strategic plan to "break the back of London's housing problem within 10 years."
    The aim is to increase the housing stock by 210,000 by all means available. Emphasis will switch from demolition to rehabilitation.

    The target is to double the rate of home improvement.

    Until that happens teachers, transport workers, and postmen will continue to be forced to leave London because of lack of housing - and the life of the capital will be that much the poorer.

    SYNOPSIS: Squatters building barricades to prevent eviction - a sign of the times in London. An indication that Britain's housing problems are becoming more acute, and that even couples without children in full time employment, cannot be sure of somewhere to live.

    Successive British Governments since 1945 have promised to pull down the slums and end homelessness. All have failed. The new Labour Government faces a worse situation than ever with London short of one hundred and thirty thousand homes.

    More than two hundred squatters have lived in twenty houses here for three years. Now the London authority wants to demolish their homes and redevelop the area.

    This woman was sent to squat by council social workers because there was nowhere else. Hor stay could be short. The council itself has already applied to evict the squatters.

    The living conditions of millions are" a hideous sore disfiguring and degrading modern society," according to Lord Goodman, chairman of Britain's Housing Corporation. He recently called for a "passionate approach" to resolve a major social problem and claimed four million British homes were unfit for habitation
    Housing developments lie uncompleted. The finished ones are difficult to sell. Many building firms are in financial trouble and massive unemployment is feared.

    The slump in building has led to stockpiles of more than seven hundred million unsold bricks in Britain. Stocks are rising at the rate of ten million a week and brick yards have been closing.

    Councils are having to put the homeless into guest houses and hotels - at great expense. There are thirty thousand in temporary accommodation in England alon
    This woman has lived here for four months, costing her council forty pounds a week. She has nowhere to cook, or heat a bottle for her baby.

    About half the British population own thei homes. More would like to. But it's difficult to get mortages, and interest on repayments is high. After a slump, house prices are expected to start rising again next year.

    Fine houses in a rich suburb. Now the standard of new houses might fall. Prefabricated houses may be used to meet the immediate crisis.

    The emphasis will be shifted from demolition to rehabilitation of old houses Meanwhile, essential workers will be drive from the capital by the lack of somewhere decent to live.

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