Squatting becomes illegal in England and Wales with LASPO legislation

Discussion in 'UK politics, current affairs and news' started by peacepete, Oct 27, 2011.

  1. peacepete

    peacepete feral

    It's been expected for a long time, but now a part-criminalisation of squatting will be appearing in parliament on Monday as an amendment to the Legal Aid and Sentencing Bill.

    The proposal would criminalise squatting in residential buildings - the stated motive being to prevent people from losing their homes to squatters. However there is already legislation protecting both residents (Displaced Residential Occupiers) and prospective residents (Protected Intended Occupiers) from having their homes squatted.

    The SQUASH campaign was set up by squatters and their supporters a number of months ago when the prospect of legislation was becoming clear. In fact the name is revived from a group which took on the same task in the run up to the CJA in the 90s. Here is their press release from yesterday: http://www.squashcampaign.org/2011/...mocracy-to-sneak-through-anti-squatting-laws/ - the website has further details on the background

    I've been involved in squatting for a few years and in the last 18 months have been full time. As such I've gotten involved in the some of the campaigning around the criminalisation. Through this time I've seen what an incredible contribution many squatters have made to other campaigns such as local and national anti-cuts campaigns, the student movement, the defence of Dale Farm, solidarity with the Arab spring and broader no borders and prison abolition campaigns to name a few.

    Now squatting itself is under threat and defending squatting is a struggle in itself. Over the next few days and weeks I suspect a number of moves and initiatives will develop. I haven't posted on Urban for a while, but thought I might post any updates and discuss the background here.

    For me I see the attack on squatting as part of wider moves by government to prop up the housing market. Equally the resistance of squatters against the enforcement of this, could play a part in a wider movement against the enforcement of austerity. I'd be interested to hear what other people think.
    Nigel likes this.
  2. MrSki

    MrSki Who am I to say you're wrong

  3. Bahnhof Strasse

    Bahnhof Strasse A-wob a-bob bob

    This bill has nothing to do with squatting and everything to do with helping landlords behave like cunts. Expect to see the most vunerable tossed on to the streets as soon as a landlord gets a better offer. Tory scum in tory scum shocker.
    flypanam and nino_savatte like this.
  4. ItWillNeverWork

    ItWillNeverWork Messy Crimbobs, fellow humans.

    Can't landlords already do that? What does the bill change that would make this easier for landlords to do?
  5. peacepete

    peacepete feral

    Last night a demo met at High Street Kensington tube, headed to the evening standard offices, then went on the tube to what was thought to be Grant Schapp's house. Turned out to be an old address. Then the demo moved to a nearby park where the general mood swang towards heading to Westminster.

    Much of the demo was on bikes and there was an arrest on the way to Westminster.

    Once it arrived there was an occupation of Parliament Green. The plan had always been to stage a sleep out somewhere. Parliament Green was surrounded by cops after a short while. Later those inside the cordon were told they were in breach of SOCPA. A certain number refused to move and 12 arrests were made.

    Here's what Squash have to say about last night: http://www.squashcampaign.org/2011/...ers-homelessness-protest-undermine-democracy/

    There are more demos planned today. Again from the Squash website:

    • 9am – Gather outside Westminster Housing Options Service, 101 Orchardson Street NW8 Workshop on how to register homeless by The Simon Community
    • 12noon – Gather outside Parliament – Rally to show opposition and workshop on how to lobby your MP by Squash Campaign on the law concerning squatting as it stands and of the impacts New Clause 26 would involve by Housing Lawyer
    • 3pm – Squash has booked a room in Parliament for you to meet your MP in, where they can be briefed fully on why to oppose the criminalisation of squatting. To arrange this, call your MP asap requesting a face to face meet up in Committee Room 20 in the House of Commons from 3pm – 5pm.
    • 5pm – Critical mass bicycle ride in support of squatting around central London with soundsystem – meet under Waterloo Bridge, Southbank
  6. i'mnotsofast

    i'mnotsofast Well-Known Member

    It was the house of Crispin Blunt's wife and kids. But he doesn't live there any more.
  7. OneStrike

    OneStrike Well-Known Member

    I have been watching this evenings debate. The opposition to it has been so clear-cut, McDonnell was particularly good. The Tory argument pretty much consists of 'i had a constituent come home from holiday to find their hard earned property squatted'. Hoey was critical of the Labour front bench flouncing for populist reasons, good on her. Dorries popped up with an intervention:mad:, absolutely incredulous at the relevation that many people would prefer to have neighbours looking after the property, she assumed everyone would prefer the house next door over-run with foxes and trees growing through the floors:facepalm:
  8. ska invita

    ska invita back on the other side

    Any idea which way this might go in terms of votes?
  9. OneStrike

    OneStrike Well-Known Member

    It passed with a landslide :facepalm: the amendment lost 23-300. The greens, a few libs and the usual labour handfull supporting the amendment.
  10. purenarcotic

    purenarcotic Conveniently Pocket Sized

  11. taffboy gwyrdd

    taffboy gwyrdd Embrace the confusion!

    Fuck 'em :mad: and all who sail in 'em. Apart from the 23 obviously.
    Greebo likes this.
  12. zenie

    zenie >^^<

    Depressing :( Hope the house of lords see some sense, and at the very least the amendment goes ahead.
    Greebo likes this.
  13. OneStrike

    OneStrike Well-Known Member

    You never know, the arguments for the amendments were quite compelling and its really been rushed through, there is a small chance.
  14. SpookyFrank

    SpookyFrank Self-cleaning oven, the whole bit.

    Looks like another winter outdoors for Frank :(
  15. temper_tantrum

    temper_tantrum The beauty of the ride

    Labour whipped it apparently. Fuck knows what they were thinking.
  16. stuff_it

    stuff_it stirred the primordial soup

    I always think that having it called 'whip' confuses some of the MPs.


    Nigel likes this.
  17. stethoscope

    stethoscope Well-Known Member

    Fuck sake :mad: :(
  18. nino_savatte

    nino_savatte No pasaran!

    Fucking Labour. :mad:
  19. zenie

    zenie >^^<

    Well no I don't imagine if it gets passed, that this will get through until April/May time will it?
  20. Paulie Tandoori

    Paulie Tandoori shut it you egg!

    Crispin Blunt MP in last night's "debate":

    Many homelessness charities, for instance, are likely to continue to say that the new offence will criminalise homeless and vulnerable people who squat in run-down residential properties, but one of the reasons that the properties remain in that state is that the owners cannot get in to renovate them because the squatters are present. Consultation responses indicated that squats can be unhygienic and dangerous places to live and are no place for genuinely vulnerable people.

    So, to protect vulnerable people, we're going to criminalise their attempts to find somewhere to live :facepalm:
  21. SpookyFrank

    SpookyFrank Self-cleaning oven, the whole bit.

    It really upsests me when these bastards talk about the experiences of vulnerable people. If they'd ever actually met any vulnerable people, if they had any understanding of what life is like for the people society turns its back on, there is no way they could pass legislation like this. D'you know where else is an unhygienic and dangerous place to live? Prison, which is where you'll be sending those people whose only other choice is to freeze to death on the streets.

    And citing the consultation is a bit rich considering that the consultation was overwhelmingly opposed to this new law and they passed it anyway.
  22. fractionMan

    fractionMan Custom Title

    fucking idiots. wankers and idiots.
  23. Paulie Tandoori

    Paulie Tandoori shut it you egg!

    indeed, in similar ways to the "consultations" on legal aid reforms (which remove welfare benefits advice, including housing benefit, and a lot of housing advice from scope) and welfare reforms (which limit payments of local housing allowance), both of which will of course have considerable impacts on peoples' ability to remain in their homes and not become homeless.
  24. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    Unless you're naive, you know exactly what they were thinking.
    They were thinking "fuck you, Jack and Jill Squatter, I'm alright".
    Plus, they wouldn't want to be seen as weak on law and order, would they?
  25. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    Pity that Blunt's "point" isn't borne out by fact. Most empty properties that are squatted have been left unattended with no intention on the part of the owner of renovating them.
  26. SpookyFrank

    SpookyFrank Self-cleaning oven, the whole bit.

    Following the parliamentary process in some detail as they deal with an issue I actually know a lot about is really quite depressing. The whole sorry pantomime, from priming the media long in advance with made up scare stories to ignoring your own consultation to standing in the house of commons lying through your teeth while the party bigwigs make sure the result is predetermined and any debate is irrelevant strikes me as the exact opposite of a democratic process.

    I'm not exactly suprised, but it's certainly an education watching the clusterfuck unfold in slow motion. What is suprising is that people still reatin some vestiges of faith, or even pride, in our system of government.
  27. SpookyFrank

    SpookyFrank Self-cleaning oven, the whole bit.

    ...to say nothing of the fact that squatters will often renovate properties themselves, at their own expense and with no expectation of any financial or material gain from their labours.
  28. temper_tantrum

    temper_tantrum The beauty of the ride

    Whipping it was politically unnecessary. But then they're not exactly overflowing with brains or political nous. I'd love to say I was surprised, but sadly it was entirely predictable.
  29. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    Depends what you mean by "politically unnecessary". It smells bad. The only solid reason I can see for a whip was if Militwat's coterie got whiff of a "for" vote beforehand, which would have reflected badly on the leadership. In that case, whipping the vote would have made good sense from the POV of the leadership, although whipping is a weapon of diminishing returns, as John Major found out.
  30. ViolentPanda

    ViolentPanda Hardly getting over it.

    When people ask me why I have no faith in parliamentary democracy, I've got more than 30 years of examples similar to the above clusterfuck, spanning my adult life, with which to illustrate my lack of faith. :(

    People still believe in our system of goverment because they've to a lesser or greater extent, been indoctrinated (educationally, culturally, socially) to believe it's the only game in town besides dictatorship.

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