Social cleansing?

 

          The Housing Minister has said he thinks it is sensible to sell social homes when they become empty in expensive areas, and use the money to build more social homes in less expensive streets not too far away. His critics say this amounts to “social cleansing”, driving social housing tenants out of fashionable areas.

          If the state does  do this, it will be behaving like the rest of society. The high priced parts of central London have already been awarded to the rich  by the market. Most people paying UK taxes  even on well paid jobs are priced out of the central districts. If they want anything other than a very small flat they need to buy elsewhere, so high are house prices.

             You could argue this either way. Does that it mean it makes sense to sell social homes when they become available, in an effort to try to get the prices down a bit in these very dear areas? Wouldn’t it free much needed state money to do more good at a more sensible price nearby?  Or does it mean you just add state “social cleansing “to market “social cleansing”?

                Maybe the idea of social cleansing is a silly one. All my life Mayfair has been very expensive, banned to most of us as a possible place to live. Just as you have to be very good at football to play for Manchester United, or have to pass elite exams to be an NHS doctor, so you have to be very rich to live in a house or large flat in central London. It was ever thus. One way or another you have to ration access to Mayfair housing, as there is not enough for all who would like it to have it. I cannot see that state allocation would be better than market forces. What are your thoughts?

            The idea that social housing landlords can sell high priced property when empty to pay for more replacements in cheaper locations is not a new one. It also rests on the assumption that sufficient high value property becomes available, as the scheme rightly assumes the social landlord can only sell once the property has been willingly vacated by the former tenant.

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245 Comments

  1. Brian Taylor
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    IT WAS EVER THUS, Is spot on do we want more government social engineering.

    I don’t think so.

    Someone said you can’t buck the market!!!

    • Credible
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      It is social cleansing. The question is whether you agree with that or not. If you don’t there shouldn’t be state social cleansing even if there is private social cleansing. If you do, then it’s fine.
      Personally I don’t agree with social cleansing. Firstly, people suffer, not just the ‘feckless’ and ‘workshy’. Secondly, the more divided a society becomes the more unstable it becomes. Eventually it can only be held togetehr with, fear, force and cruelty imposed by the powerful.

      • Single Acts
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

        “Eventually it can only be held togetehr with, fear, force and cruelty imposed by the powerful”

        How is that different from now?

        • Credible
          Posted August 21, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

          Quite a bit.

          • Single Acts
            Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

            Thanks for the full response.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

        I thought social cleansing was the whole point of the graduated housing market.

        “We don’t want the riff raff here.” is a well established English turn of phrase. To me is a fair enough sentiment. You pay a lot of money and, therefore, are entitled to dictate standards. This should apply to some degree at a lower level too but it doesn’t. It’s a good motivating force in any economy.

        What is causing problems, but countrywide, seems to be the unaffordability of housing (rented or bought) for working people in general. They are having to compete in many areas with welfare landlords who are helping to create a false market rate – they get no government assistance and actually end up disadvantaged for their efforts.

        If privately run welfare housing has to provide both a monthly yield AND a capital gain for the landlord then the taxpayer has to foot an almighty bill which clearly isn’t fully redeemed with capital gains on sale (otherwise we wouldn’t be in this economic fix.) The sale of council house stock has created a need for privately controlled welfare housing – with the need to make lots of profit in between. No wonder things are out of control.

        Housing costs are most definitely inflationary in terms of pay deals.

        I’d agree that this were the true market at work – if the residents were working and earning to that ‘market rate.’ But it doesn’t seem to be so and state spending on welfare has ballooned and young women who wish to become independent are discincentivised from working and get themselves pregnant instead – it’s a perfectly logical and ecnomically viable thing for them to do.

        Why can’t my younger working colleagues (on my wages) afford to buy houses in areas of high unemployment ? Why is there so little left of their wages after the rent has gone out that they can but dream of saving for a deposit ?

        I posit that it’s welfare landlording that’s caused it.

        I’ve had to tell my boys we can’t afford a dog. Their cousin can afford one though. Never worked in her life. She gets a car, a house, credit cards … the lot.

        • uanime5
          Posted August 22, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

          The problem you mention isn’t caused by welfare landlording but by a combination of a housing shortage, high house prices, and lack of social housing.

          People cannot afford to buy houses in areas of high unemployment for the same reason they cannot afford to buy houses in areas of high employment; houses are too expensive. There’s a reason why the average age for buying a house is 38.

          • Bazman
            Posted August 22, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

            A monkey could get a job in London, but could not afford to live there. In Middlesbrough you could buy a castle, but would not have job. Does this make the unemployed of both towns lazy, especially Londoners? Lets have think as to why this is the case.
            Many Londoners are unemployable and into crime and many ‘Boro’ residents are ‘on the sick and into crime’. To set you off. I will stand by these right wing views. Ram it.

  2. Steve
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    Why do Tories always run from labelling by the left?

    Remember the cries of ‘racism’ when Michael Howard tried to raise the issue of uncontrolled immigration?

    Even Labour Ministers were saying after the election they were wrong not to listen to the electorate’s views on immigration. They were forcibly reminded on the doorstep and in the ballot box.

    Now the meaningless term of ‘social cleansing’ to prevent a very reasonable policy of providing lower cost housing for welfare recipients living in properties the majority of people can only aspire to.

    Most people think the cap is too generous, should be reduced further, and not made available at all to those who have never contributed to our tax and NI system.

    So, ignore The Guardian and BBC, let’s see more of the sort of backbone shown by IDS and Gove.

    • Timaction
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Here, here. The CAP should be limited to the first two children it’s not tax payers place to fund the feckless workshy! No benefits until they have contributions for at least 5 years.

      • alan jutson
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        Timeaction

        Agreed.

      • uanime5
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        So no benefits for the young, who account for half of the unemployed. Expect a brain drain as young graduates are forced abroad and a large number of unpaid student loans.

        • zorro
          Posted August 22, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

          The government needs to get serious about immigration to try and keep enough jobs available for UK graduates…

          zorro

        • Bazman
          Posted August 22, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

          Forced abroad to be employed by all the rich fleeing the UK tax regime. Get real.

  3. Mick Anderson
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    I like the idea of selling off the expensive housing as it becomes empty, and don’t believe the sirens who claim that it is going to cause some sort of new-age ghetto.

    Those who live in houses they have bought and paid for are told that they have to sell up and realise the value in order to afford their own end-of-life care. This is a similar shade of the same colour; the Councils selling expensive things in order to realise the value. The thought that a Mayfair house can be sold for the price of building multiple houses in the suburbs is very appealing.

    If you can sell an existing house for £500k, that’s enough money to build houses for a couple of families, or flats for more. Couple it into building the replacements on brown-field sites that are already Council owned, and everybody comes out better off; more families housed, money spent on new buildings without having to borrow it, regeneration of unused sites. This should have worked on a larger scale when Mrs Thatcher started to allow scial housing to be sold to the residents, but the moeny appears to have been (inevitably) absorbed into general government income.

    Listening to the objecting voice on the radio yesterday, it sounded very like the reaction of someone who would object to anything not draped in a red flag. The only difficult part of this suggestion is in making sure the money raised by selling unnecessarily exotic housing does find its way into funding new social builds.

    Reply: The proceeds from Council house sales under Mrs T could be used to build new homes, once the debt incurred by the Council had been paid off.

    • stred
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      The sale of property in expensive areas would indeed provide sufficient funds to build more social housing in terms of area. Why should some citizens expect others to pay for them to live in expensive places?
      However, the sale of normal social housing at discounted prices cannot provide net cash enough to build the same area, taking into account increased building costs, increased regulation and site costs at real prices. This policy is one of the most dishonest or stupid mistakes of the Coalition.

    • Mick Anderson
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      To reply: If that money had been ring-fenced for new builds then Mrs T could have been the stimulus to a big boost to social housing. That would have confused the Socialists!

      It’s just a shame that it didn’t happen, and although the proposor of this new scheme wants to use money raised for this purpose, I can see it being leeched away to bureaucracy and other projects.

      • stred
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        Unfortunately, new building costs and land costs have been higher than housing already built. Especially if property is sold at a large discount, the same cannot be built to replace it. Where councils discount land value in order to make the schemes work, usually for smaller units, they provide a hidden subsidy. The winners are better off tenants, who often are in a better position to take a mortgage than someone on the waiting list.

        • Single Acts
          Posted August 22, 2012 at 4:05 am | Permalink

          In fact the ‘winners’ are taxpayers who don’t subsidise rent payments anymore, the former tenants descendants who will one-day inherit and the rest of us who benefit from someone at last having a ‘stake’ which they might take care of.

          Sure it’s one less social house available but also one less person demanding social housing.

          • stred
            Posted August 23, 2012 at 10:37 am | Permalink

            True, but politicians should not pretend that more social housing will result from discounted council house sales. Just say- our policy is to reduce the amount of social housing and housing benefit. If you can’t afford housing, go and live somewhere else. Could be a vote winner!

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

        And if she hadn’t completely wiped out the miners then Labour wouldn’t have dared introduce green taxes for fear of upsetting their voter base.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      Your plan won’t work unless it’s easy to get from the brownfield site to a job. If there are no jobs near then brownfield site then you’ve created an area that makes it impossible for people to find work.

      • Single Acts
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 4:06 am | Permalink

        Yes because travel just isn’t possible is it?

        • uanime5
          Posted August 22, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

          It isn’t if you can’t afford a car, and the bus or train takes a long time to get to somewhere that has jobs.

          Remember the longer it takes to get from your house to somewhere that has jobs the ore difficult it is to get a job.

          • Single Acts
            Posted August 22, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

            I formerly left my house at 6.45am to get to central London for 9am for the job and was often back home around 7.30pm so cry me a river.

  4. Bearsiebob
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    Labour call it social engineering; they should know, for years they have shoehorned as much social housing as possible into expensive areas. They say it’s socially beneficial, but the truth is they want to dilute the Conservative vote.

    • Christopher Ekstrom
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      Several years ago I lived across the street from the “smartest Council house” in Britain according to the DAILY MAIL. Located in Chelsea this four bedroom house was given to unknown foreigners. My next door neighbor was a minor celebrity who had her front door removed & the enterprising sod then drove off in her BMZ. The police response was rather wane; this was the dear moment when Pa Brown had a male & female pair of “Bobbies” out strolling about showing off his gender equality nonsense. I dreamed of Texas where .44 magnums held in private citizens hands “terminate with extreme prejudice” many a criminal career. Perhaps my rent free neighbor fled Texas?

  5. lifelogic
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    Indeed you have to ration somehow selling of expensive units and building more in cheaper areas is clearly sensible. Though all rents should be a market rent those who need help get it anyway. Why should someone, in social housing (Frank Dobson types perhaps), with a good income have perhaps £1000 PM more disposable income for life than someone next door who has to pay the market rent? Anyway it is unfair competition for the private rented sector.

    In discussing this yesterday there was another example of absurd BBC non think, on the today program. The interviewer suggested the government could instead:- just provide, new social housing by borrowing more and building them, at a profit! – How exactly could it make a profit when social rents are way below the true costs of provision it did not explain. Anyway only about 30% of social tenants are actually working, so even these low rents will be paid by the state. BBC people seem to think that money just grows on trees, but then I suppose, at the BBC, it does – sort of.

    Unfortunately the money trees are all being killed, due to excessive harvesting by government.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 6:38 am | Permalink

      If they just charged market rents many tenants would give up the units anyway and take cheaper ones. Some are even sub letting the social housing or just using them as second homes. But if you give something away (at perhaps 1/3 of its real value) you will clearly get a big queue and not many will hand the keys back.

    • Jerry
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      Lifelogic, do remember that the BBC has a duty to be ‘accessible’ thus they will often ask the sort of questions those who think that credit is not actually a debt would ask themselves, it doesn’t actually mean the interviewer is stupid! It’s also sometimes called being “Devils Advocate”. What you described is just another example of how this country has been dumbed down over the last fifteen years or so, more important to accommodate the lowest common than attempt to educate them.

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        I do not think he was being a “Devils Advocate” he seemed to think it was a serious suggestion and even suggested it would make a “profit”.

        It was made even worse because no one replied “look you daft BBC interviewer, the state is not going to make any profit borrowing & building houses to rent at low social rents to people, most of whom, do not even work or pay their own rents”.

        • Jerry
          Posted August 21, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

          Lifelogic, that is still being “Devils Advocate” and why should anyone call the listener in effect “daft”, after all I’m sure that you would not wish a Labour politician to call you “daft” should a BBC presenter ask a question that you or I think is ‘on-the-money’ (which they sometimes do)…

          • lifelogic
            Posted August 25, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

            If someone is being daft why not call them daft.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      The Office for National Statistics has just reported that the public sector finances excluding financial sector interventions — the government’s preferred measure — showed a deficit of £557 M, compared to a £2.8 billion surplus in July 2011.

      Tax, borrow and waste under Cameron will, I assume, just continue until he can finally borrow no more and has killed the productive sector completely is this the plan? Let us hope, at least, he will cancel HS2 and the absurd Severn Barrage.

      • norman
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        I just read in The Telegraph that borrowing (the deficit, goes without saying debt is rocketing under this government) is more than likely going to be up this year.

        One of the main reasons is ‘A Treasury spokesman said there had been “weakness in corporation tax, especially from North Sea oil production”.

        Mr Redwood, we realise there are one or two passionate Ministers (IDS, Gove spring to mind) who would do a good job regardless of the administration, but could you lay out in broad terms at some point what the point of this coalition is, other than to keep Ministers in the style they’ve been accustomed? From a citizens point of view what is this government doing that is giving us hope that the next 10 years will see any kind of improvement or that in 30 years time the policies being laid now will ensure our progeny can enjoy at least as good a life as we have had?

        I can’t think of one policy this government has implemented (apart from the two mentioned who would have done well regardless and who no doubt would be doing even better under a competent administration) that is positive for the medium to long term?

        Even public sector pension reforms have been given up on so that people will lose nothing over the medium term in order for a short term boost to the coffers just now.

        Going by your record of this 80% Conservative government why should any of us vote Conservative until the present leadership go? I know UKIP is a wasted vote but at least we know it is and can feel proud in voting for a party of principal. Voting for this lot is worse than a wasted vote, it is a vote that is actively setting the UK on a downhill path faster than Brown / Darling would have done. Can you offer one shred of evidence otherwise?

        • elf341
          Posted August 21, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

          Good post norman.
          In my opinion, UKIP will never be in government, and I suppose it is even unlikely they will ever get a single MP with FPTP. However, I will still waste my vote on them (having voted tory 2010), because I see it as the only way to give a signal about my preferences as a voter. Labour and the conservative-led coalition are virtually indistinguishable from a policy perspective, indeed, I remember a thinktank coming out with a report that the hugely lax “faux-austerity” Osborne budget, has in reality yielded roughly the same spending as Darling’s higher-spending budget.

        • Bob
          Posted August 21, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

          @norman

          Voters have been conditioned to believe that a vote for anyone but Labour or Tory is a wasted vote, because it suits the political classes.

          Google: “The Collectivist Conspiracy” and you will see what I mean.

          • Jerry
            Posted August 21, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

            Bob, unless you are suggesting that UKIP can gain between 250 and 300 odd seats they can’t even start to think about forming a government and thus the likely hood is that a UKIP vote is a wasted vote even if they do win a couple of marginals. This is why it is important to back people like Redwood, Cash, Chope and others eurosceptic in the party rather than threatening to do the electoral equivalent of a “Violet Elizabeth Bott” rendition!

            As for your suggestion to use Google, yes indeed, I do see what you mean about conspiracy theorists and it also explains a lot…

          • Bob
            Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

            @Jerry

            There’s an old saying: “If you think you can’t win, you won’t”.

            You are perpetuating the “conditioning” that I referred to in my comment.

            I just hope enough people have sufficient independence of mind to see through the con trick that you and others like you are perpetrating.

          • Jerry
            Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:03 am | Permalink

            Bob, I’m not perpetuating anything other simple maths! If there was a statistically safe UKIP seat you might have a point but so far all UKIP have achieved is loosing yet more seats for the Tories -UKIP’s needed partner in any anti EU coalition- UKIP has not costed Labour any seats.

            People who say that they will “vote UKIP next time” (and don’t think I haven’t considered that opinion myself) have even admitted that the Tories would have had a outright majority had their manifesto been more eurosceptic.

            I really don’t want to be rude but if you spent more time studying actual political theory rather than conspiracy theories…

          • Bob
            Posted August 22, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

            @Jerry,

            Simple maths!
            That’s what the Labour Party thought before they lost Bradford West to the Respect Party!

            ” the Tories would have had a outright majority had their manifesto been more eurosceptic.” ~ Maybe the manifesto would have been, but a manifesto is not a guarantee, and it wouldn’t have made a blind bit of difference to our subjugation by the EU.

            Whether Tory/LDs or Labour are in government, the march towards EU integration continues apace.

            What it boils down to is if you want the country to be run by unelected EU Commissioners then carry on voting the for the Tories or Labour;
            however if you want change, then you’ll have to vote for it. How can you expect any fresh ideas if you perpetuate the two party duopoly? (and that appears to be what you are suggesting).

    • Bob
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      “Unfortunately the money trees are all being killed, due to excessive harvesting by government.”

      It was so good, I had to repeat it.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      The way to make a profit from social housing is simple:

      1) Borrow money and build new social houses.

      2) Move people from bed and breakfasts, hotels, and high rent buildings into the new social houses.

      3) Save a large amount of money due to lower rents.

      Simple really.

      • JimF
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

        That is lowering the State’s losses not making a profit. You’re getting as muddled as that supermarket advert Spend to Save.

      • Single Acts
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

        What is the typical amount paid for bed and breakfast accommodation? I really have no idea what it might be.

      • stred
        Posted August 23, 2012 at 10:45 am | Permalink

        This is only a ‘profit’ because one expensive government scheme is subtracted from another. If the ridiculous requirement for LAs to house people who dump themselves on their turf was removed, there would be no hotels housing refugees in the first place.

        It is good to be reminded how the socialst mind works and expains why we are in the mess we find ourselves. Thanks.

  6. Sue
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    “Social Cleansing” What an absolutely stupid phrase that is. Some people are rich, some are not. Some people can afford to buy or rent lavish property, some can’t. That’s life!

    Most of those in social housing do not get to pick and choose where they live (and why should they?) We really don’t do anyone any favours by constantly molly-coddling those that require constant support from the taxpayers. What incentive is there for someone being housed in luxury at the taxpayers expense to get a job or improve their situation?

    There are families that work damn hard that can’t afford housing in Westminster or Chelsea. Why should those who don’t work get a better deal?

    The council should sell them off. Whether the money gets used for housing is doubtful. I have ceased to trust any UK government, especially this one. The money would be better spent refurbishing the thousands of properties in inner cities which have been left derelict.
    .

    • PrangWizard
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      The ever so gorgeous BBC’s Emily Maitless was interviewing someone yesterday on BBC news and said something to the effect that ‘if expensive houses were sold it would just mean that poor people would live in poor areas and all you would end up with is ghettos’. That’s BBC thinking for you.

      • Jerry
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

        They are pretty much spot on I would say, if you build new houses for those on low pay or benefits then that is who is going to live in them!…

        Admittedly the use of the word “Ghetto” was a bit crass.

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 9:11 am | Permalink

        The BBC always work on the basic emotions of envy. Rational thinking is not usually relevant to them. Like the dopey BBC interviewer yesterday who said the government should just provide new social housing by borrowing more and building them, at a profit!

        Does he understand the word “profit” and how low social rents are relative to capital costs and they are usually rents paid by other tax payers anyway?

        • Jerry
          Posted August 21, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink

          @lifelogic: Does he understand the word “profit”

          I’m sure he does, see my earlier comment, these BBC employees are just doing what they have been told, either by their producers or BBC production ‘style’ policy document says, you have to remember that the Today Programme is a dumbed down version of what the likes of Manio and Timpson used to present.

          I’ve also heard some howlers from other media outlets, Sky News is not beyond asking ‘silly’ questions or making such comment either, and as for it’s sister station across the ‘Pond’…

    • Jerry
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      There are families that work damn hard that can’t afford housing in Westminster or Chelsea. Why should those who don’t work get a better deal?

      True to a point, and certainly true of people who chose to move into an area, not quite so clear cut when talking about people who are part of an (extended) family – what do you do with someone’s family member whose family can’t help but might well be working hard for not much more then the NMW and paying all their taxes etc., do you really suggest that families should be spilt apart and what will that do to wider social cohesion and any family support that might exist?

      • Richard
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

        But Jerry, if you try to buy your own home (or rent one privately) you can only live in an area you can afford and that might not be near to your other close family members.
        For example, I could not afford to live near my parents when I first moved out of the family home and I predict my children will not be able to live near us either.
        Thats life.

        • Jerry
          Posted August 21, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

          That is life as you wish it to be,. it doesn’t need to be like that…

          • alan jutson
            Posted August 21, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

            Jerry

            “It does not need to be like that”

            Really, please explain in detail ,as I do not understand how else it could be, without someone else funding it all.

            Like Richard I moved out of West London when I got married because housing was cheaper (less expensive, more affordable), use which ever phrase you want.

          • Richard
            Posted August 21, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

            Yes you are right Jerry, it doesnt need to be like that, as long as someone else pays your rent for you out of taxation.

          • Jerry
            Posted August 21, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

            @Richard: That is not what I said.

            @alan jutson: The point is if we had effective ‘social housing’ (otherwise known as LA housing) then people are far more able to form or keep family units and then help themselves, also people would be far more able to live near their work etc. (as I said elsewhere in the blog, the Cadbury family had a point…). Sure such a regulated world will not be for everyone and those people would still be able to buy or rent on the open market. The only people who might suffer are the private landlords, but only if they try to keep their boat on to too short a mooring or push it to far out thus coming a cropper by falling into the drink, in other words be not maintaining their property or charging to high a rent causing people go off and apply for/get a LA tenancy.

            Benefits do not come into any of this as where ever those who qualify for housing benefits live they will still need to be paid (up to the current limit) unless we are to have countless people living on the streets.

            I’ve said the following before, whilst I’m all for the free market and capitalism in general some things (health and housing) are to important to the well being of society to leave solely to the volatility of that free market. Not only that but when ever I see someone less fortunate than myself I always remember; “For the grace of God goes I”…

    • uanime5
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      Sue if you move people from the high cost areas, where there are jobs, to the low cost areas, where there aren’t jobs, you shouldn’t be surprised if they remain unemployed.

      Also moving people from areas they grew up in to areas they’re unfamiliar with has been shown to make it much harder to find a job. Thus making them unemployed for longer.

      • alan jutson
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        unamine5

        Ever heard of commuting, millions do it every day,

        Some travel 15 mins, some 30 mins, some an hour, some more than an hour.

        Some walk, some go by bike, some by car, some by bus, some by train some by a combination bike and train.

        Some even work at home.

        One thing is for sure.
        No one will knock on your door and ask if you want a job !

        • Jerry
          Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

          Alan, many of these people need to be near to their work, thinking here about NHS, emergency workers, some transport workers, not only because they work shifts (try getting a train or bus when you are the bloke who is taking the first train or bus out in the morning…), but can be called in when operational requirements occur.

          • alan jutson
            Posted August 22, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

            Jerry

            I agree some people need to be close to their work, but that is not the case for the majority.

          • rose
            Posted August 22, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

            That is a common difference between the sexes: when I see a man begging in the street, I think, there but for the grace of God goes my son – and I would not want another woman to sustain him in that way of life. But most of the men I know just guiltily hand over money, so the workless habits of drugging and drinking propped up by begging continue.

          • rose
            Posted August 22, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

            This, above, was meant to appear under Jerry’s comment about the grace of God.

        • uanime5
          Posted August 22, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

          This might surprise you but most businesses don’t like people who have long commutes because they’re not available at short notice.

      • Richard
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

        unanime5,
        You are assuming that no jobs will ever be created in these low cost areas.
        It could be a tempting prospect for companies to relocate into these low cost areas to take advantage of cheaper rents and an available workforce.

        • Jerry
          Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

          Richard, but what about the jobs that already exist, you know all those NMW jobs that you and I take for granted, who in this utopia of market rents private landlords and no housing benefit payments are going to do them if those who did them previously have been moved away – it sure as hell won’t be those now paying your market rates because they simply wouldn’t be able to afford the market rent if they did!

  7. Single Acts
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    I take the view that none should be state provided, but even within the parameters of it’s own definition, better have five social units available at a capital value of £200K than one at £1M.

    This is clear to all but a socialist.

    • Single Acts
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 6:28 am | Permalink

      “the scheme rightly assumes the social landlord can only sell once the property has been willingly vacated by the former tenant”

      Why? If an area has been gentrified and thus the capital value has increased, why am I forced to provide uber-charity to people who live in social housing in Notting Hill?

      Should I work for a living or find a morally-flexible young lady from the area, have a child or two with her and move in to the area at everyone else’s expense ?

      • Bob
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

        Don’t wait for the property to become vacant, give the tenant three months notice to quit and offer something more in keeping with their financial status.

        • Jerry
          Posted August 21, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

          ..and they said the Tory “Nasty Party” doesn’t exist. 🙁

          How about your LA increase your council tax 10,000% and then give you 3 months to find a property more suited to your financial status?…

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      Socialist politics is all about envy and the hated of anyone richer than yourself that is how they garner votes. So “Social Cleansing” it will be to the BBC types just as it is “climate change deniers” even though they do not deny climate changes (always has always will).

      Cameron also is not prepared to make the highly moral case for sensible small state policies – as he has a socialist gene too it seems.

      • uanime5
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

        Given how the rich keep getting rich, while the poor get poorer is it any surprise that most people hate anyone richer than themselves. That’s what happens when you live in a capitalist society that promotes greed.

        • Richard
          Posted August 21, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

          uanime5, I would like to rewrite your post from another political perspective:-
          “Given how the party elite get richer and richer while all the rest get poorer is it any surprise that most people hate their leaders.
          Thats what happens when you live in a socialist society.”

          • uanime5
            Posted August 22, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

            The party elite only get rich in communist and capitalist societies, not socialist ones. Do try to learn the difference.

          • lifelogic
            Posted August 25, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

            Precisely.

  8. Kevin R. Lohse
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    “Just as you have to be very good at football to play for Manchester United,” Not after last night’s display you don’t.

    Many areas of our major cities which were once working class have become, “gentrified” and are increasingly inhabited by the professional class, who have bought into the area as former council housing, released onto the market by Baroness Thatcher to the enrichment of those who lived in them, has been sold on by the ageing population who once predominated in those areas. So you now have small islands of council tenants in increasingly expensive owner-occupied areas. In London, the difference in rental values can be very marked from one side of a street to the other, or even just a hundred yards down the road. I see no problem in redeveloping derelict buildings or former industrial sites to provide new, contemporary social accomodation built to reflect the world we live in and funding that by selling properties that are increasingly expensive to run and maintain which also fetch higher prices. In the 1930’s social housing was built to a very high standard. The low point of social housing development was in the 60’s and 70’s, with high-rise flats which have already been demolished. Our MP’s could do worse than ensure that the new builds of social housing reflect the 30’s, not the 60’s.

    • Mark
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      I think we’re reaching a new low in building standards: many modern properties are truly tiny. I expect they too will be torn down quickly as they turn into modern slums that no-one wants to live in. It will make all the environmental standards that drive some of the downsizing seem like a real way to waste money.

    • Winston Smith
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      Actually, many of the ‘gentrified’ properties were sold by the councils in the 60s and 70s. Long before, Thatcher’s Right to Buy. Areas of Camden, Islington, Notting Hill, etc, were already in the hands of the middle-classes. In Camden, several were bought by socialist councillors. One became a famous Labour minister. The house is worth £1.5m now. Not bad for a former marxist, who wanted the peasants put in concrete blocks.

      Right to Buy allowed the working-class to aspire to better things and to share in some property wealth. The Left want to keep the lower-classes down, which is why they so hate Thatcher’s policies.

      • Bob
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink

        @Winston Smith

        ” The Left want to keep the lower-classes down…”

        Of course they do, who would vote Labour if everyone was well educated, employable and financially independent?

      • Jerry
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        Right to Buy allowed the working-class to aspire to better things and to share in some property wealth

        Many a working class person not only had the right to buy long before the 1980s many took it, from the free market. All Mrs Thatchers policy did was distort the market, for those who could afford a mortgage why buy on the open market when one could by their council house at a 2/3 discount and get a cheaper mortgage to boot (or what ever the discounts and incentives were, did it depend on length of time the buyer had been in the tenancy?).

        There was also a lot of unofficial property speculation, family members talking their parent(s) to allowing them to buy council house for them when the parent(s) would have been quite happy to carry on as before, knowing full well that the property would be inherited and then sold for cashing-in. I know someone who not only bought his own council house, fair doo’s, but also bought his fathers council house next door – go figure, that bloke could have bought on the open market and had his father to live, now both houses have been sold at a vast profit and the money has been taken off-shore into his early retirement.

        • Winston Smith
          Posted August 21, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

          The market was not distorted because the number of right to buy sales were only small compared to the whole market. Discounts were based on length of tennancy. However, that was reduced to a figure far too low under the Major Govt. What Thatcher could not control was the abuse of housing provision by the LAs. In Camden it is well known the system was/is corrupt, especially within certain communities.

          • Jerry
            Posted August 21, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

            The market was not distorted because the number of right to buy sales were only small compared to the whole market.

            Of course it was, it couldn’t stop being a distortion, who in their right minds would have bought on the open market if they had an option of their LA house, unless you really are trying to claim that 2 million units (even spread across the whole of England) is not a large chunk of work for building trades people and profit for the building companies.

  9. Acorn
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Selling council houses was the biggest welfare state mistake Thatcher made. It may have bought a lot of votes but it made no sense economically. A council selling houses at, what were then, large discounts, then having to build a new house at a net loss on the deal, to catch up with its waiting list for council houses!

    Thought for the Day: “No Welfare means no Democracy. They go together. An end to Welfare, or even a significant reduction in Welfare, invites political chaos for Europe. The base would be removed from the fiction of Democratic Government.” Don’t you just love this guy; not bad for an ex supermarket boss. http://www.plata.com.mx/mplata/articulos/articlesFilt.asp?fiidarticulo=179 .

    Reply: Selling Council houses was one of the greatest social policies ever, selling people a stake in the assets of the country and encouraging responsible ownership by families. It did not cut the supply of houses as the left tried to claim – the same family lived in the home after sale as before.

    • alan jutson
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      Reply -reply

      Sorry John, I am with Acorn on this.

      Selling off council houses was wrong on a number of accounts.

      1. It destroyed the make up and efficient maintainance by volume of complete estates.
      It also destroyed the architectual appearance of complete estates as people then fitted stone cladding, painted brickwork and purchased new doors and windows.

      2. The money used from the sell offs was not allowed to be spent on new replacement houses.

      3. Houses were sold at a fraction of their value, further reducing income for the council.

      4. In many cases it was the children who purchased their parents council home, enabling them to then inherit a second home windfall on inheritance (I suggest not the original intention).

      5. Land to build new property was/is in short supply close to towns.

      6. If we had not sold off millions of homes, perhaps there would be no need for the council to have purchased some Million pound homes in the first place.

      I once attempted to explain to an American how our Council housing system worked.

      They thought it a great idea at first.

      “Thats great, so the profit from those homes goes to build more homes”

      When then told that the homes were rented at below cost, and also sold at below cost he simply said.

      “But that’s crazy, you mean you deliberately lose money on each house”

      Just about sums it up really.

      Now we have Multimillion pound houses being rented out at only a fraction of the cost, and then paid for by housing benefit as well.

      Only in the UK could this possibly happen.

      Whilst I did admire most of what she did, Mrs Thatcher took on this so called social engineering as a policy, simply because she thought if more people owned their own house, she would get more votes.
      Perhaps it worked for a while, but now we are reaping the results.

      Reply: Councils could reinvest the money once they had paid off the debts they had run up. The Council shed the responsibility for repair etc. It was win win.

      • alan jutson
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:10 am | Permalink

        50 years ago, many living in Council property thought they were fortunate.

        Many estates were new, some residents had come from unfit private rented property, the houses had good sized gardens, open areas for kids to play, the houses were well maintained by the Council with a planned schedule of decoration, and rents were fair.

        In return Councils demanded that tenants behaved in a manner which did not upset their neighbours, had to keep their gardens and hedges tidy, and had to look after council property by not causing damage and reporting problems.

        It went without saying that you paid rent and rates on time and in full each and every week.

        WHAT EVER WENT WRONG WITH THIS COMMONSENSE ARRANGEMENT !.

        • Winston Smith
          Posted August 21, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink

          It went wrong because of socialist planning. They broke up, often self-policing, family orientated, close-knit communites. Then randomly housed them in estates. Plus, they threw in increasing numbers of new arrivals. Then, add the expansion of the Welfare State to the mix.

          • alan jutson
            Posted August 21, 2012 at 10:47 am | Permalink

            Winston

            Exactly.

      • alan jutson
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:39 am | Permalink

        Reply -reply

        “Councils could reinvest the money”

        In what exactly, they have just sold a house at a huge loss, so they are not going to reinvest in another house to make another loss are they. !!!

        Reply: They have the power togrant planning permission, which if they grant to themselves gives them a windfall.

        • alan jutson
          Posted August 21, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

          repy -reply

          So ok for local Authorites to fix the market with Planning Permission for themselves.

          Then what, sell off the land to private builders for a huge profit, and for the developer to build for purchase on the open market.

          Or construct themselves for rent, with a right to purchase at a discount and lose some more money.

          Sorry John, I do not get this logic of Local Autghorites acting as a business when non of the normal commercial rules apply.

          Reply: It’s what they do at the moment.

        • Bazman
          Posted August 23, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

          The Tories passed laws specifically stopping councils from using the money from sold council houses to build more.

      • Acorn
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:50 am | Permalink

        In my time as a Councillor shadowing finance, I never met a Whitehall Treasury guy or a CIPFA accountant who didn’t think it was a stupid idea to sell council houses. I distinctly remember one guy who is now a University Prof’ telling me “in twenty years time we will regret this policy … hopefully they will not index link the bloody discount offered.” Which thankfully they didn’t.

        • rose
          Posted August 21, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

          Most university professors I have known think it was a stupid policy. That doesn’t mean it was the policy that was stupid. What they couldn’t stomach was the biggest redistribution of wealth there has ever been, carried out by a conservative government in peacetime. The other thing they couldn’t stomach was the working class prospering generally in the 1980s. “Selfishness and Greed”, they called it, from their nice Old Rectories and Glebe Houses.

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 9:15 am | Permalink

        You say: 3. Houses were sold at a fraction of their value, further reducing income for the council.

        Yes but they were being rented at very low rents anyway better to get the capital in and charge service charges to the new owners. Better still to charge market rents.

        • Bazman
          Posted August 21, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

          Very low rents? My house private rental £600 -£650. Council rent. £400. Very low rents? Stop lying and fantasising. More affordable is the truth. Owned outright err..? Nothing.

          • Jerry
            Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

            Bazman, unless very fortunate many, if not most, people are not free of their mortgage until in their 50s, few live the majority of their working lives without having to pay either rent or mortgage – true some could have been free earlier had they not moved ‘on and up’ but doing so frees up starter homes and the like.

          • lifelogic
            Posted August 25, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

            Some properties in London would rent at £8000 PCM and are being rented at just £600 PCM so yes, very low relative to market rents.

          • Bazman
            Posted August 27, 2012 at 7:38 am | Permalink

            You quote a few examples of where high house price inflation has produced a few properties in London where long term tenants have lived hoping this will support your propaganda of very low rents in the council sector. Ram it.

      • Mark
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        1. People improved their properties (doubtless subject to planning rules: there have been cases where a house painted bright pink has had to be repainted in a more forgiving shade). In blocks of flats, leaseholders had to contribute to the council run maintenance programme, so there was no loss of scale (and opportunity for the council to overcharge).

        3. Capitalise the rent the councils were getting, and I doubt you’d find many cases where that exceeded the sale price, especially after deducting ongoing maintenance cost. If anything, it will have improved council finances.

        5. Selling off council houses is about changing ownership. Building new houses really is a separate issue. The idea that councils should be landlords is frankly highly dubious. What makes them good landlords?

        6. I doubt whether councils bought homes that were expensive (although lavish housing benefit is certainly being paid out on expensive rented homes): they merely became so. Two-up, two-down terraces with no internal bathroom that even today sell for under £50,000 in Northern England have become £500,000 fashionable pieds-à-terre in London. Even a broom cupboard in Knightsbridge regularly sells for quite silly money.

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1258045/Flat-smaller-snooker-table-worth-200-000.html

        What are now reaping the results of is large scale immigration of both rich and poor. The rich bid up prices (over half of property sales n London are to foreigners according to Knight, Frank), and the poor congregate in ghettoes unless they win the socialist property lottery of a millionaire’s mansion in Kensington rented at taxpayer expense.

      • a-tracy
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        I agree with Acorn and Alan, John you say “Councils could reinvest the money once they had paid off the debts they had run up. The Council shed the responsibility for repair etc. It was win win”.

        What they did in reality was very different, the money should have been reinvested in new build social housing or shared social/half buy for the next generation with no life time tenancy agreements with pass on to children. Our Council’s social housing was 65% in our town yet we got the smallest fraction of spending of the ultimate £65 million they made from selling them off at around £7500 each to the Housing Association or private buyers (who paid slightly more per home), this was after paying out about £17 million repairing them all! This money was filched to pay for land fill for the salt mines so they could reinvigorate another town in the Borough and has been half inched by the large City nearby when the Councils merged, we are supposed to be grateful for a new leisure centre (that I’m still trying to discover if the £10 million it cost was paid for our of the £65 million or purchased on a pfi agreement that future rate payers will be funding).

        No one area should have more than 15% (preferably 10%) of social housing in their area, it is too much of a burden on the schools, doctors, shops and other residents to bear. Perhaps the 15% of social housing in the posher areas should go to key WORKERS in that area rather than claimants and if the homes are not needed for WORK they should give way to social housing needs of workers in that area and the current tenant move to a cheaper location, as you would if you were in a mortgaged property. BUT those homes should NEVER BE SOLD ON cheap to the renter as they have had the benefit of low rents for years already at tremendous costs to other tax payers. If you want them to have a % stake then new social housing should have a % stake available to profit from if they want to move as their circumstances improve and take a stake of the rising house value when valued at market rates when they move.

      • SadButMadLad
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        JR said “Councils could reinvest the money once they had paid off the debts they had run up. The Council shed the responsibility for repair etc. It was win win.”

        If they sold the houses at market rates then yes it would be a win win. But selling them at a huge discount is where the big mistake was made. It was all about getting votes from new home owners. Pure political gerry mandering.

        • Winston Smith
          Posted August 21, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

          That post sums up the Left for you. Improve the lives of the lower classes, give them a chance to share in the wealth and create an ambitious, upwardly mobile working-class, and the Left think you are stealing their voters. Keep the Prols down, comrade!

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      It was one of the best things she did she should also have charged market rents for the ones not sold.

      • Jerry
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 9:47 am | Permalink

        Define “Market Rent”…

      • JimF
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

        I’d agree with you if houses had been sold at market rates and then used to rebuild more at market rates. We wouldn’t have the shortages experienced today. The “no-brainer” prices just made money for ex-Council house owners to burn in Spain etc. at the expense of their kids, who no longer had the council house stock to live in.

    • Jerry
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      Sorry John but I’m with Acorn and Alan on this too, the problem with council estates wasn’t the fact that these houses were public housing stock but because of the way the council/state ran them. One can get exactly the same sort of issues that festered within the old council estates of old in the current day rented sector, especially were streets have attracted a high proportion of absentee landlords within the Buy-to-Let sector.

      For many people it wasn’t that they could not afford mortgages, it was because the banks/building society wouldn’t give them a mortgage, or they were (even in the age when one could walk out of one job into another) in less then secure hourly paid work and thus needed the safety net for their family that LA housing gave, many of these people were paying as much in rent as they would have for a mortgage. Also,just how many of those people, having be convinced of the benefits of “owning your own” lost their own when their mortgage payments went through the roof with raising interest rates in the early 1990s.

      For the Tories the sale of council housing was as much about ideology as “Clause 4” was to Labour.

  10. Ralph Musgrave
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    The important point about the phrase “social cleansing” is that it is EMOTIVE. And the political left is always looking for ways to get worked up emotionally, ways to get an adrenalin rush, ways of working itself up into a frenzy of righteous indignation.

    And the phrase “social cleansing” is great for this purpose. The phrase has overtones of “racial cleansing”, gas chambers, and some of the horrors that took place in former Yugoslavia.

    As for working out realistic solutions to social and economic problems, well that’s too much like hard work.

  11. Robert K
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Housing is best owned by the private sector. It might be argued that selling council houses is a form of social cleansing, but on the other hand it might be argued that a council estate is equally socially divisive. Inevitably when the state distorts market forces, many anomalies spring up in the provision of council houses, such as now-wealthy people on substantial earnings hogging their cheap council homes.

    • Jerry
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Housing is best owned by the private sector.

      Why, please explain, for who, those who sell,buy or those who rent from the sector?

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 25, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        For everyone on balance.

  12. Pete the Bike
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Any attempt by the state to regulate where, when or how people live will be a disaster. It always distorts markets and leads to all manner of problems not foreseen by those making the rules. The free market is the only way scarce resources can be managed. Anyone that doesn’t believe that should ask themselves when control by bureaucrats has ever worked. Communist countries had it for 70 years and just as soon as they were able they ditched communism. The EU gets more control over our lives every day and just look at how well that’s going.

    • Jerry
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      Anyone that doesn’t believe that should ask themselves when control by bureaucrats has ever worked. Communist countries had it for 70 years and just as soon as they were able they ditched communism.

      …and one of the first things that happened, certainly in USSR and other more eastern parts of the old eastern block, was a raise in homelessness.

      • norman
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        ‘…and one of the first things that happened, certainly in USSR and other more eastern parts of the old eastern block, was a reported raise in homelessness.’

        Fixed it for you.

        • Jerry
          Posted August 21, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

          @Norman: You forgot to add, “In my opinion”.

        • uanime5
          Posted August 21, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

          There was a rise in people that were reported homeless in the USSR because more people were made homeless. This was because the countries in the USSR was forced to provide housing and jobs for everyone, once these countries left the USSR this protection ceases to exist.

  13. NickW
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Why did the critics of the scheme coin the phrase “Social cleansing”?

    Because they wanted the reader to create the parallel in their mind with “ethnic cleansing” which is a term used to describe the murder, torture and forced relocation of whole communities.

    The comparison is puerile and insulting and typical of socialist propagandists.

    Councils have an absolute duty to make the best use of their financial resources; providing a home for one family when they could use the same resources to provide homes for twenty is a clear breach of their duties.

    • lifelogic
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      Exactly.

  14. Rebecca Hanson
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    There are ways of making properties fall vacant John. I’ve watched some of them in action and am horrified by them.

    • Mark
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Yes, you can be terrorised by local gangs for example. There’s nothing about about who owns the property in that.

      • Jerry
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        Mark, from what I hear, you describe one of the favoured methods for landlords to effectively ‘evict’ tenants…

        • Rebecca Hanson
          Posted August 21, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

          Another is for them to run down and botch repairs on properties until they are condemned.

          • Mark
            Posted August 21, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

            I’m sure you’re right: but “landlords” also includes councils in many instances. Too many housing departments have proved to be corrupt over the years.

          • Jerry
            Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

            @Mark: I have no doubt that you are correct about the running of some LA housing departments, but is that really an excuse to throw the baby out with the bath water? Also, it wasn’t unknown for ‘corrupt’ LA’s (or higher) to turn a blind eye to what private landlords were up to – one of the reason why Peter Rachman was able to do what he did.

      • Christopher Ekstrom
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        Those dear lads are expressing their social needs. By labeling them “gangs” you are asking to be terrorized. Go & give them a big hug. Offer them £100 & apologize for the Empire. Perhaps offer them the use of your abode. In others words just carry on being English!

  15. Lord Blagger
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    From what I can see as someone in the Middle class I’ve been social cleansed from Mayfair. Perhaps Labour will subsidise me to live there to get a balance of social classes.

    I suspect with that proposal they might have a problem making their case.

  16. Caterpillar
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Presumably social housing like affordable housing, non-market rents, (unequal tax treatment of different assets – I’ll bracket this one), the greenbelt, artificially low interest rates are all areas of market distortion of which the economy needs to be cleansed.

    Perhaps the Coalition could focus on a cleansing policy – regulation cleansing, tax system cleansing, etc.

    • Bob
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      @Caterpillar

      “Perhaps the Coalition could focus on a cleansing policy – regulation cleansing, tax system cleansing, etc.”

      It’s the coalition that needs cleansing.

  17. Amanda
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Could someone please enlighten me please, in all this mis-use of language: is social housing the same as what is called ‘affordable homes’ when it comes to building them on new developments?

    Is it housing associations who run this social housing? And is it right ‘social/affordable housing’ is sold on new developments, to houising associatons at a lowere than market rate- which means that market homes are more expensive than they could be and so not so affordable?

    Is it also trute, that the Polciy Exchange report recommended much of the new social housing to be built from housing sales should be built on cheap ‘farm land’? So are we not back to issues of green- belt?

    If we build more social housing, doesn’t that mean a bigger welfare bil for the taxpayer, knowing out any current savings from housing benefit cap?

    Wouldn’t it just be easier to just consider population size, and stop all but necessary for skills immigration, leave the EU, and let the market mend the broken housing market. The claim seems to be we kick start our economy by building social housing – surely we would get more, and more sustainable economic growth from just leaving the EU.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      Firstly social housing is house for people who are unemployed or working but can’t afford to live anywhere else.

      Secondly lowering the market rate makes houses more affordable.

      Thirdly if you move people from bead and breakfasts, hotels, and private properties to social housing this will reduce the welfare bill because it’s cheaper to house people here.

      Finally the housing market will not fix this. All the housing market will do is make the poor homeless and let the wealthy buy all the houses.

      • lifelogic
        Posted August 25, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        What on earth will the wealth do with all these many houses – rent them out to tenants surely.

  18. Jerry
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    It might be better to ask why so many people want/need to live in such areas, if it might be a better idea to sort out these issues first?

    But back to the question posed, I assume this would mean the new homes would be in the same local electoral ward/constituency -otherwise it would be a form of gerrymandering- so would this not actually force prices up in those select areas thus placing even greater burdens on the slightly cheaper housing in the next street down and thus increase those prices too, this in turn…well you get by drift.

    This could ultimately increase the need for the suggested social housing as more and more people get priced out and down to the next street and so on. I’m not saying this idea is wrong, just that it might not do what was intended, just shift the problem (high prices) to yet more streets or areas and before long we might actually need that truly social cleansing measure much favoured by the post-war politician – The “New Town”! The Cadbury family also had a point…

    • Mark
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Isn’t building a council estate or other low grade housing a form of gerrymandering if it isn’t matched by building of a similar number of good quality properties?

      • alan jutson
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        Mark

        It may surprise you to know but Council housing was required to be built to a higher standard than open market homes which were built and sold to the private buyer.

        That is why ex Council homes are so much in demand on what was well run estates, which are now mostly privately owned.

        • Winston Smith
          Posted August 21, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

          You’ve never lived on a council estate, i take it?

          • alan jutson
            Posted August 21, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

            Winston

            My grandparents did, and they had a better house than my parents.

          • Jerry
            Posted August 21, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

            No, but I know builders who will buy ex council houses before even looking at some private housing stock, although it is true that LA building standards took a nose dive in the 1970s but that also happened in the private sector. Ex LA stock from the 1930s and 1950s seem to be in particular demand.

        • Mark
          Posted August 21, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

          The operative term is was. Current housing standards for both private sector estates and public housing are appalling until you go quite some way up the price scale. Tiny boxes, no gardens, inadequate parking…

          • alan jutson
            Posted August 22, 2012 at 6:26 am | Permalink

            Mark

            “The operative term WAS”

            Agreed, but a lot of this is down to Council Planners who have moved the goalposts and wanted and demanded, narrow roads, higher density housing, less parking.

            I have been to planning meetings and the knowledge is pitiful, and some ideas and policies an absolute farce.

            Restricting parking is the latest policy, only one parking place per flat in a development of over 300, no spaces for visitors, development surrounded by double yellow lines.
            They are trying to encourage the use of public transport !!!!!
            Tell that to a visiting doctor, nurse, social worker, tradesman, your visitors.

            You are correct, much housing now will be slums of the future. but this is private, not much public built now.

      • Jerry
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

        Only if outside of the current electoral boundaries, as I pointed out.

  19. Captain Crunch
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Christine Hamilton (wife of former MP Neil Hamilton) happily boasts that she bought her council house in the 1980s at a discount for £4,500 and sold it immediately for £45,000.

    That is over £40,000 that we, taxpayers, gave the Hamiltons.

    That does not seem right.

    Reply: I think she said it was a co-ownership home. They qualified under that scheme quite legally. Neither of the Hamiltons came from rich backgrounds.

  20. Matthew
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    It seems logical to sell higher priced properties in order to fund the development of more rented stock.
    There can be no good enough reason why a council or housing association should have so much capital deployed in so few units.
    Since the sale of council houses there is a need for more rental properties in various areas of the country.
    You so often hear lobbies from the South West and the English Lake District bemoan the fact that local offspring cannot find local housing. Yet this is not a recent phenomenon.
    In certain areas the young never could find property to buy, most properties being agricultural tied cottages. The building of council stock was the first time that young people could settle locally.
    Today, since the sale of council houses, there are villages in the Lakes and on the Northumbrian coast, where there are entire former council schemes that are now 100% holiday homes.
    The sale of council stock was a good vote winner. I’m not so sure that it was a good thing for the country.

    • Richard
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      Same problem near me in Warwickshire and in the Cotswolds and in the Dales of Derbyshire where there is very little new housing being allowed.
      There is a strong demand from the children of those living there which local council planners refuse due to green belt obsessions
      It results in very high prices and villages being frozen in time.
      Hundreds of years ago the next generation would have just purchased some land on the outskirts of the village and built a property, and that is how villages grew naturally into towns, but not any more.
      Some big decisions need to be made soon because our greatly increasing poplulation needs greatly increased numbers of homes.
      Or we decide to build several big new towns.

      • Lee
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

        Yes, agree with Matthew – its no use saying that the same people continue to live in the sold stock – they do for a time but in medium term in nice areas they become holiday homes

        • Mark
          Posted August 21, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

          Presumably the sellers do not become homeless, but buy a different property instead.

          • Jerry
            Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

            Mark, you missed the point, holiday houses are often empty for much of the year.

  21. oldtimer
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    As others have already pointed out “social cleansing” is one of those terms redefined to frame the debate on terms favourable to the author of the redefinition. “Denier” and “flat earther” are others in recent or current use.

    It is absurd for tax payers to subsidise rents in the circumstances described. Such properties should revert to wholly private ownership and occupation. Initially that will provide plenty of work for builders and interior decorators as the properties are refurbished and later more business for local shop keepers and other suppliers.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      The whole point of social housing is that it’s cheaper for the council than paying the rent on private properties.

  22. English Pensioner
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    There would be more housing available if we didn’t give so much to single mothers who simply produce babies at calculated intervals to ensure that they are housed and never have to work. In my view they should be provided with hostel type accommodation to free up housing for genuine families

    • Jerry
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      Now there is a thought, convert these large LA owned houses into Mother and Baby hostels, many of these Victorian and Edwardian properties are well designed for such duty, having large rooms that would be well suited as small self-contained living apartments whilst the ‘below stairs’ accommodation often has both kitchen, scullery and laundry rooms that could all be reinstated!

      Ho-humm…

  23. merlin
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    The following words racism, social cleansing are constructs of the socialist philosophy which at its heart is a political system with the sole intent of complete control of every individual’s action and thought culminating in the worst rulers in the whole of history i.e Stalin, Hitler and Mao. Socialism is a never ending political system and we should always be vigilant when it raises its ugly head. Social cleansing has just surfaced through the left wing media, as a Conservative I totally and utterly refute this complete nonsense, and I agree that as a result of market forces there will always be properous housing areas and poor housing areas.

    • Bob
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      @Merlin
      “The following words racism, social cleansing are constructs of the socialist philosophy”

      Google: “An Idea Whose Time Has Come – G. Edward Griffin”

    • Credible
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      Hitler – socialist!?

  24. Denis Cooper
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    There was a fascinating TV series recently, “The Secret History of Our Streets”:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/tv/2012/06/secret-history-of-our-streets.shtml

    It traced how particular streets in London have gone up and down in the world over time, eg:

    “The Deptford High Street we found is one of the poorest shopping streets in the country. But when Charles Booth had arrived in the 1890s it was the Oxford Street of south London – so prosperous that many of its working class shopkeepers kept domestic servants.”

    “On Portland Road, Notting Hill we found multi-million pound houses once occupied by a family of eight in each room.”

    The original developers of Portland Road had intended it for the well-to-do, but that while that initially worked out at one end of the street the other end proved less attractive, partly because of (nearby low income families-ed), and the whole street was dragged down so that much of it became slum dwellings; now at least part of it is back to being highly desirable and very expensive.

    It’s quite possible for longstanding council tenants to find themselves essentially as leftovers in areas which have become fashionable, affluent areas where the council would not now choose to build new social housing, but it’s hardly their fault if their local area has changed for the better and I see no reason why they should be penalised for that; nor for that matter is it necessarily their fault if the neighbourhood has gone downhill since they first moved there.

    There are major market and social and political forces at work, almost entirely beyond their individual control, and of course one of those major forces operating on housing is the rise in population due to the government deliberately allowing and encouraging mass immigration.

    • Bob
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      @Denis Cooper

      “It’s quite possible for long standing council tenants to find themselves essentially as leftovers in areas which have become fashionable, affluent areas where the council would not now choose to build new social housing, but it’s hardly their fault if their local area has changed for the better and I see no reason why they should be penalised for that”

      Maybe tenants that fall into that category could be exempted, or even offered a rent free period if they agree to move?

      • alan jutson
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

        Bob

        Simply leave them where they are until they pass on or choose to move themselves, but do not allow the tenancy to pass to their children automatically.

        Thus house becomes vacant eventually and no one is turfed out.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      It wasn’t “low income families”, JR, it was a gipsy encampment, as openly stated here:

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/2012/jun/26/television

    • forthurst
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      You cannot assume that all the valuable properties in council ownership arose in this way; sometimes they have been purchased by the local authority at a time when they were already upmarket; that was certainly the case when I lived in an inner London borough, many years ago. It would be useful to question first how these expensive properties came into council ownership.

      That TV programme was both very revealing and very shocking. Who would have thought that those responsible for the social cleansing of the English working class from their neighbourhoods were the socialists themselves? In particular, the cleansing of East London for the benefit of various (people was shocking-ed). The English working class has toiled and fought along side us through the centuries and they deserve better treatment; etc etc

  25. TomO
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Social housing eh?

    That’d be low cost erm… “affordable ” sort of housing eh?

    I wonder when I see my local council – Wiltshire building “social housing ” at a cost – minus the cost of land of £200,000 per unit … which, using the developer’s rule of thumb 1/3rds make each Wiltshire affordable home a £300K cost…

    Public housing is a shambles and on the evidence above – plainly out of touch with reality.

    Public funds being hosed into what is a little more than a boondoggle for bureaucrats and their “not for profit” and lazy construction company cronies.

    Where in the world is a £300K house “affordable” – Monaco?

    The bureaucratic Balkanisation of public housing is a complete farce.

  26. Winston Smith
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    The socialist BBC once again setting the agenda and John Redwood follows/responds.

    Actually, social cleansing in Inner London began in the 60s, ran amok in the 70s and became ethnic cleansing in the 80s. London Boroughs, enthralled by Socialist urban planners, broke up large swathes of close-knit working-class communities; man of whom had lived in the same streets for a hundred years. They did it in the name of slum clearance. Some properties were indeed beyond repair. However, most were not. My mother’s home in Camden was very well maintained by proud tennants. There was no need to demolish it. Families were forced out or enticed by promises of new flats in gleaming photos. Extended families and close friends were broken up and housed across London and further afield. The promises turned sour as elderly relatives were left to rot in tower blocks and concrete estates. The councils imposed European socialist housing without any consultation with the people whose lives they changed.

    Amazingly, many of those large period houses that once were the homes for 2 families were not demolished. Instead, they were bought by wealthy liberal types and socialist councillors. Free of the working-class, they set about creating new communities of the chattering classes. Many became very rich as demand for property soared in Innner London.

    The working-class did not like their new estates and many moved out to the suburbs or to new towns. However, the socialists and the urban elite needed cheap labour for their services, so in came the migrants. As more came, the flight out of London grew.

    Now we have the clear segregation seen today. The wealthy white, middle-class, the International rich and the media/political elite occupying the period housing and creating exclusive enclaves, and the immigrant dominated housing estates.

    • Jerry
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      Winston, the first “social cleansing in Inner London” began in earnest in the early 1950s during the premiership of Churchill, his government carrying on with the policy started by Labour MP Lewis Silkin in 1946 (as set out in the 1943 wartime “Abercrombie Plan”). Please don’t confuse the word ‘social’ with socialism, the two are not the same and are not interchangeable, it is quite possible to be right-wing and believe in social planning and capitalism.

      • Winston Smith
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

        Just because work planned and created by socialists continued during the premiership of the Conservatives does not mean it was socialist urban planning. Silly logic.

        • Jerry
          Posted August 21, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

          Err, run that past me again, sorry Winston but I’m a bit confused as you seem to be just repeating back to me what I illustrated in my short history lesson. My guess is that you really don’t understand the difference between “socialist” and social

          Not everything Labour did in 1945 to 1951 was done because it was “socialist” ideology, some of it came about due to cross political consensus formed during the war, post war housing, education, even the NHS, were all part of this social (planning) consensus – the Conservatives never opposed the principle of the NHS formation, just the details.

  27. Richard
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    I agree with you Mr Redwood, in fact I would go further as I would like all Council housing to be sold and privatised with social housing provided instead by churches, charities, private landlords and the many housing associations.
    Council housing has been disasterous; badly designed, badly built, badly maintained and badly administered.
    In the Midlands we have seen huge sums of unpaid rent just written off, basic repairs taking ages, general mainteance not being done so that properties of just 20 or 30 years old having to be demolished and many properties being left empty for no fathomable reasons whilst people wait for years and years for a desperately needed home.
    Council housing Departments employ many thousands and manage to loose many millions.
    The recent involvement of housing associations in providing affordable rental housing has been excellent and should be replicated and expanded.

    • Dan H.
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      To be honest, the only thing wrong with many council estates is Socialist political correctness and the insistence of Government that everyone who needs a house must be found one, regardless of that person’s behaviour. This didn’t always used to be the case; in the past council housing was really rather desirable and anyone or any family who caused trouble were simply booted out.

      Most people on council estates are law-abiding, peaceful and harmless and merely wish to get on with their lives in peace, disturbing nobody else. Only a tiny minority are criminal scum; were these criminal scum forcibly evicted then most council estates would rapidly race up market and become desired places to live.

      • Bazman
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

        You are wrong and nave. There is a council house mentality as real as the nice middle class mentality.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you Mr Redwood, in fact I would go further as I would like all Council housing to be sold and privatised with social housing provided instead by churches, charities, private landlords and the many housing associations.

      The problem with social housing from churches and charities is that they don’t have enough money to house everyone. The problem with the latter two is that they’re much more expensive than social housing.

      • Richard
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

        Uanime5, I realise that is true at the moment, but if the current costs of providing social housing was properly calculated and just a fraction of the money saved by getting the private sector involved was then given to these bodies then rentals might reduce to current subsidised levels.
        And especially if more properties were built thus reducing the chronic shortages which are a reason rents are high.

        • uanime5
          Posted August 22, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

          You clear have no idea what you’re talking about. Council Housing is cheaper than renting from the private sector because council’s aren’t trying to make a profit. Welfare levels keep increasing because the private sector keeps raising their rents.

          More properties would help, especially flats which can house a large number of people in a small space. Preventing foreigners buying properties and outlawing second homes would also help.

      • Bazman
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

        It’s called the workhouse.

        • Richard
          Posted August 22, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

          Bazman..What on earth are you on about…. “its called the workhouse”
          Uanime5… “preventing foreigners from buying properties” isnt that getting to sound just a little bit racist
          Where is your socialist style, all one world, no nations, policy gone?

          • Bazman
            Posted August 27, 2012 at 7:43 am | Permalink

            The workhouse would have course have to be run entirely on voluntary donations and the church. Preferably donations from the poor themselves as they would be the biggest benefactors.
            I have not got a socialist style, all one world, no nations, policy, but am not letting the fantasists roll back years of social progress back to the 1930’s or as far back as the nineteenth century in order to implement policies they will not have to live with due to their connections to the middle class social security system.

  28. Roy Grainger
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    This is a total non-story – Housing Associations already do this and no-one is complaining. For example, I bought a former Housing Association flat in an area where prices had increased a lot – they sold the entire block on the open market and used the money to buy more cheaper flats elsewhere.

    • lojolondon
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      Yes, but not all councils do this – in Islington I lived near a 4-floor terraced house, council owned it had the same tenants (a couple) for 20 years, value over 1.5m. When you boot them out and sell it you could build 10 flats down the road for the same amount.

      • Jerry
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        Sorry but that comment does nothing but give cannon fodder to those who wish to push a “Nasty Party” agenda against the Tories. “when you boot them out”, I mean, what ever will the next suggestion be…

        Tenants are not responsible for the housing price bubble, what ever else they might actually be responsible for.

        • Winston Smith
          Posted August 21, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

          Camden has been Labour controlled for all but 8 yrs in the last 50. It has sold thousands of Council owned properties.

        • Mark
          Posted August 21, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

          Subsidised rents are a factor in the housing bubble. They allow landlords to overpay for houses, knowing they can get the extra paid via housing benefit. Not the tenants’ fault directly – unless they voted for parties who promoted such schemes.

          • Jerry
            Posted August 21, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

            Why do you think housing benefit is so high, yes the need to pay market rates now that there is a lack of LA housing stock, once again the cart is put well before the horse.

          • Bob
            Posted August 22, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

            @Jerry
            “Why do you think housing benefit is so high, yes the need to pay market rates… “

            You got it the wrong way around.
            It’s the HB money that’s fuelling the rental market.

  29. Leslie Singleton
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    But there aren’t any locations in Mayfair, cheaper or otherwise, and in any event it is the compulsory movement of people that the socialists (of which I am very definitely not one) don’t like (so the problem festers and accumulates). If there were such places, perhaps not in Mayfair, the emphasis, which I don’t believe you even touch on, should, to make the point, be on building basic inexpensive housing along the lines of the wartime prefabs. These could be built in numbers very quickly and might actually make a small dent in the welfare housing queue whilst helping the construction industry big time. If I were desperate for a home and incapable of buying one myself I know I would find this very acceptable.

  30. Neil Craig
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Anything of which there is a limited supply compared to demand will be rationed in some way. In a free enterprise society the rationing is by money, which is above board and means most people who really want it that much you can usually get it or some close substitute.

    In socialist societies it is rationed by going to the nomenklatura, “key (government) workers” those in the know.

    The only way everybody who wants can get is by increasing the supply. That could, of course, be done were this a free enterprize society, by allowing the building of high rise housing, such as China’s SkyCity One wherever there is the demand. 75% of all housing costs are regulatory & could be got rid of quickly if “affordable housing” were more than a political promise.

  31. The Prangwizard
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    I decided to watch ‘The Matthew Wright Show’ this morning on channel 5, as I knew they’d be covering this subject, in the usual partisan fashion. One of the guests, an actor I think, was getting typically outraged about the selling off plans. He said weren’t we all meant to live intermingled, and thus all happy together? I wonder if any of the well-off advocates of this ideal would like to relocate themselves and their families, or indeed agree to be moved, to some ‘poor’ area where the ‘poor’ people they love to want to help live. After all to be fair it should work both ways to be fair, nice small house, nice small garden, or perhaps just a concrete yard. However, if they come from a poor background and then get better off, do they choose stay in their two up-two down? Not bleedin’ likely, they move to somewhere ‘nice’.

  32. norman
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    You cannot see how huge bureaucractic state allocation / rationing / post code lottery can be better than market forces?

    #we love the NHS

    (Time to get rid of these anti social pro market views etc) You have as much right to live in Mayfair as someone whose only claim to fame is being born into a rich family. Board the Potemkin friends, after fifteen years of socialist progress the time has almost come to fire the first shot. Come on Dave, call the troops, we’re waiting for your and George’s command.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Following Norman’s “logic”, why not say that everybody has the right, for instance, to a Rolls Royce? The left wing discontent with the very idea of the family shines through. As I see it, the family is a unit in its own right and if that unit either now or in the past has been successful it seems very reasonable to me that its present members should benefit. I realise that this doesn’t exactly fit in with left wing shibboleths such as homosexual marriage, anti everything involving inheritance including the monarchy, anti continuity and pride in schooling, unlimited immigration and much else besides. As well abandon the concept of money altogether else naturally enough those with it get to buy more and bigger and better stuff than those that don’t.

      • alan jutson
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        Leslie

        Think I would prefer a Bently or an Aston Martin, is that allowed.

        Happy to wait a few weeks, but how do I improve my chances ?

        If I promise I can pay for the petrol without government aid, will that get me up the list.

      • Bazman
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        Of course they do, but on the other hand the middle classes start to move to poor areas and push the poor into more poor areas. You assume the poor are in some way articulate and vengeful, but in many cases they are vulnerable and can be taken down by more socially advantaged people. Often the socially disadvantaged are like children, even their own children. It’s not bleeding heart liberal views. I’ve’ seen the whites of their eyes and told them they have to be quiet and stop being antisocial.

  33. lojolondon
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely right, John. Labour obsesses with ‘fairness’ because it means giving freebies to some favoured people where other people have to work for a privilege. And there is nothing a communist likes better than handing out taxpayer-funded freebies to the undeserving, because it ensures votes.

    • Bazman
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      Like banking and bankers?

  34. lojolondon
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    On a completely different subject :

    Every working day I take the train from Milton Keynes to London Euston. This trip costs £42.80 per day or £520 per month including underground travel. I have been told this the most expensive trip in Europe, based on cost per mile travelled.

    Virgin trains stop here on the way through to the North, giving us a ‘fast’ 35 minute service. London Midland gives some fast-ish services, but most trains stop at about 5-10 stops en route, giving a 45-55 minute service.

    Unfortunately, Virgin rail does not supply a single train in the morning between 7:14 and 9:19 and in the evening from 15:43 to 18:43. So despite taking a share of the revenue for the tickets, they provide no cover for the vast majority of passengers who travel to work in London, so the London Midlands trains are completely overfilled.

    In addition, Virgin runs 8-carriage trains. Four of those carriages are First Class, and these run almost empty, often only one or two people per carriage. At the same time, standard class is absolutely jammed, every day, on every journey, people who have paid over £40 for a trip to London are standing or sitting on the floor.

    In short, Virgin is NOT providing a service, they are monopolising one of the busiest and most expensive lines into London, and blackmailing commuters to pay the 30% extra for first class to get a seat.

    Two ways I think the government should help :

    1. I am pleased that Virgin’s franchise is being removed, but I am worried that the situation will not change with the new supplier, how can we ensure that the new supplier gives us trains during rush hour, and allocates first/standard class carriages equitably?

    2. Secondly, by charging a rail company £5Billion to take on a franchise, the government is taxing commuters, because it is completely clear that the only way the train company can make their money back is by charging what it costs to run the trains plus profits, plus an extra £5Billion over the term of the contract, plus interest. This is totally dishonest and should not be allowed. Please give back the £5Billion to the train company and force them to deliver a good, honest, cheap and safe service.

    Thanks –

    • Jerry
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      @lojolondon: “Every working day I take the train from Milton Keynes to London Euston. This trip costs £42.80 per day or £520 per month including underground travel. I have been told this the most expensive trip in Europe, based on cost per mile travelled.

      Ever thought of finding a different job, perhaps one within walking distance (or a bus ride) from your house? You, and others, seem to object to market forces when it starts to hurt you but then expect others to expose themselves to the same market forces even though they are likely to be hurt far worse than you just having less disposable income…

    • The PrangWizard
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      Strikes me Branson is a bad loser, and vengeful with it. Seems to think he deserves special treatment.

      • Jerry
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        No, I think you will find he was just asking for a level playing field.

    • Credible
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

      John has already explained that he is completely powerless to do anything about the over-expensive under-performing private-operating train service between his consituency and London. It’s market forces.

      Reply: It’s not market forces, it is state subsidised nationalised industry in the case of the tracks.

      • Credible
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:56 am | Permalink

        In the case of the tracks!. What about in the case of the trains?
        If it is actually state run, then why can’t the state, i.e. politicians (especially those in the party in power) do anything about it?
        Maybe it isn’t possible to run a good train service for profit at affordable prices without subsidy. The requirement for subsidy makes the profit-making aspect ridiculous, except for the shareholders who are doing very nicely out of our taxes and fares.

        Reply Politicians in office can do things about it.

        • Credible
          Posted August 22, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

          John, with all due respect that is a very mysterious and not very satisfactory answer. What sorts of ‘things’ do you mean?

    • Bazman
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      Maybe you should try a cleaning job more near to your house? It’s like complaining about rich Russians pricing you out of the housing market using the system you are one of the chief cheerleaders for. Thanks for giving us a laugh. I notice as Jerry points out, you only complain, like lifelogic, when anything effects you personally. Try the pub for your bleating.

  35. David Langley
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    So how do workers manage who run hospitals and business that offer minimum wages? If they move out to newer and more distant social housing they will have to pay more for travel as rail fares etc are increasing beyond their ability to pay. There will then be more in the dole queue and the local councils bearing the cost of local taxes. The bar in the house of commons might have to be run by a roster of MP,s as there will be no one living near enough to travel and do the unsocial hours. What makes sense to me is building more social housing in the old brown land available in London. Traveling into Euston one can see hundreds of trading estates virtually empty and lots of overgrown sites. The problem is when you ask why, all that happens is a response that it will be too difficult to do what must be done. We need to go back to big brooms and sweeping clean all the cant do jobsworths that have managed to stifle our initiative and can do.

    • Mark
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      If employers can’t get the workers they will have to pay more, or relocate to cheaper areas themselves. In any event, since it is employers who benefit from being able to draw on a large pool of commuters, they should pay the consequent costs of peak travel.

      • Jerry
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

        Prey, do tell us how you ‘relocate’ a Hospital…

        • Mark
          Posted August 21, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

          You close the old location and sell off the site, and reinvest elsewhere. The NHS is quite happy to make people travel substantial distances for treatment or to visit family in hospital.

          http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2187025/Nations-surgeon-backs-plan-axe-A-amp-E-wards-claiming-SAVE-lives.html

          • Jerry
            Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:46 am | Permalink

            Let me correct you Mark, the internal market (forces) run NHS Trusts are quite happy to do that. It makes every sense to combine and consolidate, it makes no sense what so ever relocate.

            In many areas near hospitals one actually see higher property values [1] due to the fact that people like being close to ‘amenities’ and those better paid NHS employees compete for housing stock closest to their work, leaving those NHS staff close to or on the NMW yet again being forced to claim housing benefits or -as you seem to wish- move.This in turn means that there is no one to do those jobs again due to the costs of transport or their shift patterns causes them leave. What then, close and move yet another hospital to cash in the the now higher land value and start the whole bleeding (pun intended) cycle again?!

            [1] and thus a raise in property value should a new hospital be built or an existing one be enlarged

      • uanime5
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        If employers cannot get the workers they will demand higher immigration until they can import the people they need. They will not pay more or train someone.

    • Bazman
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      Obviously market forces will introduce high wages and hence high costs for employing anyone in expensive areas. The servants will just add on the additional expense of travel and congestion charges onto their invoice and the ones who are liberal will be happy to pay the additional cost of the privilege of living in and expensive area. The greedy rich will just take their business to more poor and competitive areas in and outside London. Are you really that stupid and simple you cannot see this?

  36. Conrad Jones (Cheam)
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    I know you are an advocate of the Free Market, as I am. I do agree with your points above.

    “I cannot see that state allocation would be better than market forces. ” – agreed.

    Do you consider that we have a true Free Market Economy ? All House Prices have doubled in real terms over the last 40 years.

    “Most people paying UK taxes even on well paid jobs are priced out of the central districts.” – agreed

    I don’t understand why both Labour and Conservative Governments believe that the way to increase the number of “affordable homes” is by injecting more money into the Property Market through; Tax Relief, Shared Equity Schemes and other money thrown at the Housing market.

    Why do Politicians always fail to recognise that the reason why Homes are becoming more unaffordable is because Banks and Building Societies have been on a Lending Frenzy over the last 40-50 years.

    Why is it that Politicians fail to see the bleeding obvious – if they want more Houses to be “affordable” they must either remove the Private Banking Industries license to print money (my preferred option), or restrict Banks from Lending more that two and a half times the main bread winners income and not take into account the Spouse’s income (Man or Woman).

    There are a plethora of NGOs out there saying the same thing.

    The State should be in control of Money Creation while letting Banks operate as Free Market Institutions. Then we would see a reduction in “Social Housing” as Housing begins to be affardable again. Get rid of the Welfare state Safety Bubble for Bankers and we can all enjoy a Free Market Capitalist Society. The main enjoyment would be to see the less savoury Banking Institutions be removed by the Free Market, and get replaced with a more efficient and more ethical replacement.

    The IMF recently published an article in favour of Full Reserve Banking (The Chicago Plan).

    • sm
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 1:27 am | Permalink

      @Conrad
      The IMF in favour of full reserve banking! The wheels are turning eventually , the vested interest fight every step of the way.

      Back to the article:
      We would be better curtailing immigration to returning UK citizens only, who may be needing housing as a result of misfortune abroad. They probably did contribute something at some point and were born here.

      Selling houses to fund newbuilds is not a bad thing, it increases construction demand and provides a new home- it also adds to supply and should mitigate the absurd prices we have now. ( Will councils actually directly contract the builds or will crony capatilism just suck it up).

      Where is the policy to allow asset prices to fall? Once this happens prices and income stand a chance of re-aligning.

      Where is the policy to encourage newbuilds and reduce the attraction of BTL via unstable bank created interest debtfunded money, landlords able to tax deduct and outcompete the target market who they then rent to-which is perpetuating high values and destroying hope for the young.

      Why cant the new NEST pension funds be directed into new builds (with partial government guarantees). Those contributing being eligible to rent or buy them at discount proportional to funds saved. That would be self booting. No financial shark middlemen! No private frb banks- just NEST funds backing segregated government borrowing to build the asset.
      The scheme could be thrown open to other SIPP’s that might give the finance industry a wakeup call to add value and reduce management costs.

      Even housing benefit caps is probably right.. but surely we should start more of the above rolling first

      • A different Simon
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        SM ,

        I agree completely with scrapping the nest pension in it’s proposed form and using the money to build infrastructure (social housing , tidal power , nuclear plants) which would provide a real return and acquire assets (farms councils are selling off at rock bottom prices) and stakes in assets (eg the world class potash deposit in Humberside) .
        Housing must become cheaper and prices of essentials like food cannot be allowed to be puffed up by the rich who are buying farmland at rock bottom prices .

        By providing social housing to the next generation we give them a chance to save enough for their own old age .

        Clearly such a pension fund has to have it’s assets ring-fenced from politicians with a 5 year or less horizon . Perhaps there could even be a few funds under the same management umbrella so people can put a proportion in what they believe in .

  37. David Langley
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    John I have just been listening to the government explaining why the unexpected increase in government borrowing was not a problem due to explained problems with lower tax receipts income from oil fields etc. What garbage, you and others have been trying to get the government to adopt more sensible policies without destroying our risk status. This is not good and I expect will draw more condemnation of your governments handling of the current borrowing crisis. The OBR has the word responsibility in it so who is going to resign or lose their jobs. If you are responsible surely you must take the blame and go. When we have to borrow to plan we do not just ignore that. My question is the government going to pay back the excess by cutting foreign aid and payments to the EU project. Cut the numbers in the House of lords etc until the books are back in balance. That might sharpen up a few minds. While you are at it most MPs who are not on committees might return to their constituencies and work there for a few months. Or better all of them and work from home.

  38. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    We are not asking the really radical question. Why should there be any social housing at all? We shouldn’t be linking subsidy to particular properties on a permanent basis but to particular familes on a transient basis. Sell off all social housing (a) to sitting tenants if they can afford the mortgage payments or (b) to private landlords if they can’t. I don’t even mind if some of the houses are sold to sitting tenants on the cheap.

    All in all, it will bring in quite a few bob for the state, much needed in present times.

    As for this claptrap about ‘key workers’, if people are key workers, pay them more so that they can afford the accommodation they deserve on the open market.

    • Iain Gill
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      yep key workers should be getting enough money to attract them without state subsidy to their housing

      • Jerry
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        Iain as many of these key workers are within key state sectors (such as health) or within areas that rely on state subsidy (transport) isn’t it all a bit like swings and roundabouts and thus academic?

        • alan jutson
          Posted August 22, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

          Jerry

          Almost everyone is a key worker in a civilised and developed ecomony, as we all depend on one another.
          how about the sewerage worker who could turn off the system.

          The bus driver, the train driver, dustmen, plumbers, electricians, supermarket workers, butchers, grocers, road repairers, and yes, teachers, firemen, police, Hospital staff, doctors.

          Some have a more immediate effect than others should they not work, but all are essential.

          Key workers, simply a political term, to suit their own needs at a particular time, no more no less.

    • Bob
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      @Lindsay McDougall

      There you go, trying to apply common sense to the subject.
      Politicians are control freaks and just want to have their fingers into every aspect of our existence (not to mention our pockets).

      As you say, if someone is a key worker the employer would have to pay what was necessary to keep them in situ. That is how it would work in a sensible system.

      • Jerry
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

        Bob, as has been pointed out, many of these “key workers” are in effect employed by the government. So what you suggestion is that these people should be paid more wages so that they don’t need to be awarded subsidies such as Housing benefit, please do explain who is going to fund these higher wages and were the money is coming from? At beast, all I see you have done is to stop giving it out from the left hand and start giving it out using the right hand, same money just a different hand!

        Common sense, some can’t see it for rhetoric

        • Bob
          Posted August 22, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink

          @Jerry
          “many of these “key workers” are in effect employed by the government”

          And many are not.

          As you say you either pay with the left hand or the right, the only difference is that by paying through subsidies, you are concealing the true costs of a public service or you are subsidising a private business.

          So what’s your problem with keeping it clear and simple?

    • Mark
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      The basic idea is right. However, we do need to ensure that sales are at non-bubble prices. The bubble was inflated by borrowing around £800bn from abroad (2/3rds of all mortgage borrowing). We should not seek to add to that borrowing.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        You will be glad to know that house prices are still going down, especially in real terms. Over half of house sellers are having to reduce their original asking price, by an average of 7.6%. It’s called “gadowning”.

    • uanime5
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

      Well it’s clear you don’t live in the real world. Employers have shown time and time again that they won’t pay extra for key workers and are far more willing to hire someone lower quality or hire a low cost immigrant.

      Cutting benefits doesn’t increase wages, it just makes working pay less and discourages people from working.

      • Bob
        Posted August 21, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

        @uanime5

        The employer will pay what they need to pay.

        If the government flood the jobs market with low cost immigrant labour, then that will keep the costs down for the employer.

        If you object to the number of immigrants coming to the UK, then vote for an anti immigration party.

      • Lindsay McDougall
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        If employers are not willing to pay extra for them, then by definition they are not key workers. QED.

        • uanime5
          Posted August 22, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

          So engineers aren’t key workers because employers won’t pay extra for them but senior executives are key workers because they need large salaries to retain them. See the problem with your nonsense.

        • Bazman
          Posted August 22, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

          The will just employ more desperate ‘key’ workers. Would you see desperation as problem in employing someone? I would.

    • rose
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      Yes, if people are key workers they will be worth paying for. The taxpayer shouldn’t be topping up their wages and shouldn’t be paying for their accommodation. The employers have been getting away with this scam for far too long. Bringing in millions of people from abroad to get even cheaper labour too. Cheaper for whom?

  39. Iain Gill
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Yes I agree people struggling to work and pay their taxes are getting a raw deal, especially those in private rented accommodation who are subsidising both social tenants (houses subsidised via tax) and home owners (social engineering to keep mortgage rates low and savings rates low too etc).
    The system is broken.
    The suggested fixes wont work. A nationalised industry (or a pseudo nationalised one in the case of housing associations) paying lots of madarins to decide how to ration public resources is always going to fail eventually.
    The other big problem is that so much of your access to services (which GP you are allowed to register with, which school you are allowed to send your child to etc) is tied to your address. If we broke these ties and allowed residents to take their business to any school or GP (really in practise not just in theory) then that would reduce the issues.
    In housing we should subsidise needy people not houses. Get the state out of the business of owning and running and subsidising houses directly. Needy people who need help with housing should be given that good old fashioned stuff called money, and left to decide how to spend it themselves. In doing this they would decide themselves the best compromise between distance from potential jobs and commuting, distance to relatives and other places they want to go regularly and so on. Let the free market of individuals moving force the housing providers to provide what the people want.
    Many housing associations provide rubbish service and are just like bread shops in the old Soviet empire.
    I would say that rules on tenancys should be balanced more in tenants favour for all tenants, I see the lack of stable long term rented accommodation in the private sector (compared to the norm elsewhere in the world) bad social engineering. 6 and 12 months tenancys with all the cards stacked on the landlords side are not good for society.
    We need companies like Virgin in the rented housing sector. The reason they are not is the unfair competition from state subsidised nationalised industry. This is bad for everyone including the tenants.
    The other big problem is we have large amounts of social housing in many parts of the country that is located for historical reasons near long gone industry that will never return to those locations. The normal free market which would result in folk moving to places closer to where the jobs are nowadays is stifled with inertia because folk will never be able to get a similar size house etc nearer the current jobs market. If it was freed up the market would tend to provide accommodation where folk wanted to live as opposed to the state providing it in places which is convenient for it.
    We also need to get out of rationing based on limited supply of state subsidised assets towards an honest agreement with the countrys residents about how much they are entitled to when, and the money straightforwardly be paid out when they are entitled and let them get on with doing the best they can with it.

  40. jeremy wallis
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Dear John,
    Yet another first rate piece with which I totally agree.
    With kind regards,
    Jeremy

  41. David
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    This is a wonderful idea. I might even vote Tory next time if you bring it in.
    I can’t afford to live in Central London and I don’t want to pay for others to.

    • Bazman
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      I want a view of Trafalgar square for my part time council flat.

  42. Mactheknife
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Labour councils around the country are socially engineering neighbourhoods every day. If you speak to any commercial developer, when they propose a large development they are essentially bribed by the local authority into producing a development with a certain percentage of “social” or “affordable” housing – otherwise they do not get their planning permissons.

    I watched an interview with an MD of a developer based in the North and he said including this social housing makes any developement he looked at unaffordable and his company had not built any houses on the land they have for over a year.

    I see no problem with councils, particularly in central London where hosue prices are very high, selling these off on the understanding that sales are ring fenced with all proceeds going back into new social housing. I doubt though that this would work anywhere outside of London & South East though.

    • rose
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      Also, why should people pay the full market rate for a new house if other people in the immediate vicinity are to get it subsidised and just might – I am not saying definitely will – pull down the value of the large once in a lifetime investment? Peope if prudent will probably buy elsewhere, and the development be a flop.

  43. rose
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    No-one in my family has ever had a council house or flat. We all used to live in shabby, down-at-heel, genteel, and slightly bohemian Kensington. Now none of us do. We can’t afford to. Nor can any of our friends. Kensington is now very smart and expensive, with lots of foreigners living there, and lots of expensive cars driving and parking along the streets we used to walk or take the bus in. Have we been ethnically cleansed?

    • Bazman
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      You have been pushed out to the likes of the overspill town I live in. Really good in fact. Ex council house. Replaced by the rich and third world benefit claimants trying to turn expensive areas into the hell holes they have come from. London? Don cha just luv it? I’m sure you are not slumming it yourself though, so nil points.

    • Jerry
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      Have we been ethnically cleansed?

      No, you were all just subjected, through no fault of your own, to “market forces”, nice isn’t it…

  44. Adam5x5
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Surely it would be better to sell the higher value homes and the council buy cheaper homes?

    That way we can maximise the number of homes we can provide with our taxes.

    Claims that this would be social engineering are spurious. By maintaining the council homes in the more wealthy areas, the councils/govt are already performing social engineering (it’s just that this is “good” social engineering apparenttly)

  45. uanime5
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Given that until the new social housing is built, assuming it ever is built, there will be a large reduction in social housing. As a result there will be longer waiting lists for those who need social housing. Hardly beneficial for those who need Government help.

    Need I remind you John that many people who work are claiming housing benefit because they work in a low paid job in an expensive part of London. So some council housing in these areas will reduce the welfare bill because it’s cheaper for the council than paying the rent on private properties.

    • Winston Smith
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      Only if those who are working are given these new council properties. This won’t happen because the points system operated by many LAs penalises those who work.

    • Bazman
      Posted August 21, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      Unemployed in Mayfair? Your stupidity dilutes the argument.

      • uanime5
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

        I can’t recall mentioning people being unemployed in Mayfair. I was thinking more of cleaners living and working in Chelsea.

  46. Jon
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    The majority of us who pay for our own housing have done so by moving and looking at the areas we can afford. Most peoples first move away from home is a place much cheaper. How many people can’t afford the area they grew up in?

    The Left is very vocal in this area but does not carry the weight of the majority. Nobody cried fowl on our behalf and we are the ones who pay for it all.

    Its an insult hearing the phrase social cleansing when clearly they also mean its not social cleansing when its iro people who pay for their own accommodation.

    Before this first term is out I also want to see those on high salaries turfed out of council houses. Bob Crow has a basic of £130,000 with the pension benefits etc its not far short of £200k package yet we pay for his London council house. That has to be sorted, I will be very dissapointed if that is still the at then of this parliament.

    The loudness of the Left on these issues does not translate into support by the majority of people. Somehow it would be good if it could be shown the money went into social housing to help silence the critics. Million and multi million pound homes can provide accommodation for a number of families.

  47. Bazman
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Social cleansing in Mayfair? Yeah right. No money no Mayfair flat. Who in the right mind could argue? The problem is it’s like saying the rich could use the NHS and their queue jumping could provide for funding for the service, or road tolls, which is probably the right answer to road funding, is somehow not going to see the motorist done over. The problem is we know the story and the ending….Ram it.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 1:18 am | Permalink

      What works is that the state or local authority provides an acceptable service – health care, school, road system, whatever – and you can use your own money to buy a better service. How (except in the warped mind of a Socialist) does that harm anybody?

      I’ve even met a Socialist in South Wales who believed that everybody should live in identical council houses. Absolutely gaga.

      • Bazman
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

        In defence of the 1974 council in my area they did not do a bad job of constructing council houses in an era with much less wealth. Some silly ideas by Jerry the Architect such as trying to make the rear of the house the front. Rear now the front and creating access and views I suppose in looking out for your children, but instead good for burglars casing your house and escaping through the maze of alleys. Wealthy area, as in lots of work, so not really a problem.
        Everyone should live to the standard I live. Is that socialist thinking? It’s not. It’s called a £300 quid a week lifestyle in my book. Even if you earn more or less as an MP or a labourer. Ram it.

        • Richard
          Posted August 22, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

          North Korea is very nice at this time of year Im told….

          • Bazman
            Posted August 23, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

            I don’t imagine many live a £300 quid lifestyle more like a 3p one.

  48. REPay
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    I am very against the state distorting the market any more than it does. I recall that Labour in the 2000’s tried to get houses for key workers in London (and I assume build up its public sector vote bank in some marginals.) Many took the profits from their subsidised houses and left London and headed to places where they could reduce their mortgage or buy bigger property.

    We have a pressing need for housing so we should not be too hung up on bogus concepts such as social cleansing. The value of areas rise and fall naturally let taxpayer money go to where the needs are and help in areas that need a boost.

  49. Thomas E
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    What is the purpose of council housing?

    Is the purpose of it to make sure that the most vulnerable people in society aren’t homeless? Is its purpose to control the demographic make up of particular reasons?

    I honestly don’t understand why I should have to pay twice as much rent because I live in a private flat compared to someone on a higher income who lives in a council house.

    Neither do I understand why someone who was unemployed fifteen years ago and got a council house then because they needed one should be allowed to stay there more than a decade later when they are working and are not vulnerable in any way.

    And I also don’t understand why if I became homeless as a British citizen I should be actively discriminated against in the housing list because I am a male who hasn’t got children.

  50. rose
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Permalink
    • Iain Gill
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      thats a link worth reading

    • Bazman
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

      How can you not agree with this? If you have paid millions for a property would you want council tenants living next to you? The council house mentality is real and exists and often the only thing they understand is being run over by a train. Anyone want to defend it? Part of the reason for moving up the property ladder is the escape these people and meet a better class of scum, who in reality could be more difficult to deal with.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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