Angry protesters have gathered outside MIPIM UK, the inaugural UK property fair, campaigning about the housing crisis
Visitors to MIPIM, which was happening for the first time at London’s Olympia, had to battle through crowds of protesters and a police cordon as they entered the property fair this morning (15 October).
The campaigners were targeting London Mayor Boris Johnson - the keynote speeker at the event. As the protestors attempted to storm the building, Olympia security pulled down the shutters on the centre.
The protesters were made up of housing activists, trade unions, and other organisations angry at ‘the government’s failure to address the housing crisis’.
In a statement Lambeth Housing Activists, said: ‘We are going to the conference to say our cities are not for sale. We are going to demand housing solutions that benefit everyone not the rich elite; to say stop social cleansing our neighbourhoods.’
They added: ‘Successive governments have chosen to give billions of our money to the bankers who have invested in property and driven prices up. This government has poured over 50 billion into the pockets of private landlords through housing benefit, ‘help to buy’, and loans to underwrite future risks of landlords building housing. At the same time they cut benefits and introduced the bedroom tax. These are all political decision that have fuelled the housing crisis.’
While Unite added that MIPIM was fuelling the housing crisis. It said: ‘Unite fears that MIPIM UK will super-charge the housing crisis.’
In an attempt to counter MIPIM, the protest group Radical Housing Network has organised an alternative conference with keynote speaker Green Party leader Natalie Bennett.