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Ken Loach remembers 'Kathy'

The event was organised by George Galloway's party Respect to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Loach's 'Kathy Come Home'.

india Updated: Mar 29, 2006 19:26 IST

Over 100 people, from all over London, crammed into a Brick Lane curry house to listen to the world-renowned film director, Ken Loach.

The event was organised by George Galloway's party Respect to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Loach's 'Kathy Come Home' and to draw attention to the current housing crisis.

Glyn Robbins, chair of Tower Hamlets Respect, told the audience that despite there being over 21,000 people on the housing register in Tower Hamlets, last year only 20 per cent of new homes in the borough were "affordable".

Respect has pledged to make housing it's No 1 campaign issue in the forthcoming local elections.

The walls of the restaurant were decorated with the stories of East Enders who are suffering as a result of the lack of affordable housing, for example, the misery of temporary accommodation, the use of which has doubled since Tony Blair came to power.

It was precisely the suffering of homeless families that "Kathy Come Home" depicted so vividly, 40 years ago.

Remembering the making of the film, Loach recalled a golden age at the BBC, when filmmakers had primetime slots and tackled the important social issues of the day. As a result of the film's impact, he met the Tory housing minister and demanded that he do something, but 40 years on, Loach feels that the government still fails to take housing policy seriously.

Eileen Short, from Defend Council Housing (DCH), argued that council housing is the most successful and democratic from of affordable housing, which is why DCH is determined to fight for its future in Tower Hamlets.