Even churches are losing the battle against ‘market forces’

Thursday, 12th May

Capitalism Sucks_John Sadler

Illustration by John Sadler www.johnsadlerillustration.com 

• I WAS much saddened but not surprised by the probable closure of the Hampstead Activity Nursery at Christ Church in Hampstead, (‘Last affordable nursery’ forced to leave by church landlords, May 5).

So an affordable nursery is outbid into oblivion by the bigger bucks of a private school.

After decades of worshipping the god of market forces and its consequential destruction of whole communities, it seems we still haven’t learned our lesson.

Hampstead has long been an area of comparative affluence but always included a healthy mixed population including the less well off.

In the 1960s nursing and auxiliary staff at the old New End and Hampstead General hospitals were able to afford to live locally.

Protesters at Christ Church in Hampstead

The area around Christ Church included a considerable amount of decent London County Council and Hampstead Borough Council social housing.

Much of this is now owned by landlords (not aspirational right-to-buy tenants) and is let out at rents that not even many middle-class families can afford.

In this city-wide transformation of our capital, the local councils and the churches have been able to at least mitigate the worst effects of gentrification.

However, local councils have been progressively stripped of resources and powers by successive central governments.

And now, it seems, churches which have often played an honourable and even heroic role in welfare and social justice are losing their capacity to offset the imbalance market forces create in our communities.

Thinking about the “market forces rule” idea, that dominates our lives, a picture comes to mind of Jesus driving the money changers out of the temple.

We surely must be able to do better than this.

KW HOWARTH, NW1

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