Buying a home

 

I was pleased to read in the week-end press that the Conservative Manifesto is likely to include a better right to buy offer for people renting from Housing Associations. We have been talking about this for sometime in  the Parliamentary party with Ministers.

I am also pleased that the more radical idea of gifting the properties to tenants who have paid rent and behaved well for a specified time period has been vetoed. It would seem to be very unfair on all those who have saved and struggled to buy a home in the normal way, or on those who have to rent from the private sector because they have not qualified for Housing Association property, that they have to help pay for free homes for those who do rent from the state.

There will be the usual left wing protests against this policy, as there were against Council house sales in the 1980s. They are already out and about saying it is quite wrong because it means fewer social homes for people to rent. It means nothing of the sort. The day after the purchase has gone through the same people are living in the same home. The home is not destroyed or made empty. It is still the family home. The only thing that has changed is the state has some of its money back from the sale, so it can reduce its debts or build a new property with the money.

The impact on state finances is usually positive. The new owner takes over the costs of maintaining and repairing the property from the Housing Association. The Housing Association saves costs and has a receipt which it can use for other purposes.

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120 Comments

  1. Gary
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    Right to buy a house ?

    That’s voodoo economics.

    What you really mean is social housing. But you are selling off council houses(social housing) to subsidise people to buy a house(social housing) ?

    My head hurts.

    • acorn
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      “The impact on state finances is usually positive.” It was always negative, ask any local government economist.

      “The Housing Association saves costs and has a receipt which it can use for other purposes.” Unfortunately, the receipts were never enough to build another rental property, to replace the one they had been forced to sell.

      Mind you, Mr Pickles is solving the 1.7 million on Council’s housing waiting lists. He is making three out of four on the list ineligible with new local residency rules. The good news is you will be able to get a discount up to £100,000 under the new right-to-buy rules. etc ed

      BTW. Bought my parents two bed Council Flat in 1987 for £7,000. Current market price £140,000. That is compound interest of 11.3% per annum. Gross rental income £8,100 per annum. Thankyou Maggie.

      • matthu
        Posted March 24, 2015 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

        Good decision. I doubt whether the state managed to get a return anything like that on the £7000 they received from you.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 24, 2015 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

          Indeed council often even make a loss on the rents coming from these property “assets” – far better sold off and fire all the bureaucrats running them. But at a fair but somewhat discounted price.

          Assets are usually better in private hands.

        • acorn
          Posted March 24, 2015 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

          It was a good decision at that time when I was a card-carrying Conservative voter. My late parents were Conservative voters; and, in their lifetime probably visited every Conservative Club in the south of England. They were into the right-to-buy scheme. I inherited the flat.

          It was my spell as a Councillor with finance responsibility, that I learnt the political truth of public sector finance and economics, from some first rate local government officers at District and County level. Consequently, I stopped voting Conservative.

          • libertarian
            Posted March 25, 2015 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

            Acorn

            Really? Tell you what why don’t you tell us what those startling “truths” were

          • acorn
            Posted March 26, 2015 at 8:01 am | Permalink

            Libertarian, the first truth was contained in the “etc ed” above.

    • Ralph Musgrave
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      Yes: this is voodoo stuff. If housing associations have to give houses to long term tenants, that will substantially increase those associations’ costs, which they’ll have to recoup via higher rents.

      I’m baffled as to how substantially higher rents are a benefit to the not too wealthy people who rent from housing associations.

    • Hope
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      JR, how much more does this cost us the taxpayer! There will always be poor people unable to buy their homes, hence council housing and now social housing. Why should we give away free housing to people from the EU? Where do you think the 650,000 people who came to this country last year alone is living? Why do you think each development is creating 30 percent affordable and social housing? They live next door to those hard working people who have to work 25/30 years to pay off their mortgage to live in the same sort of house. At the end the hard working have to sell theirs to pay for care home fees to live again nex to their neigh our who pays nothing! It does not pay to work under Tories. There is not a housing crisis we have an immigration crisis! And now your party is suggesting the taxpayer pays for free housing, how might you think this will effect immigration? Unbeleiveable.
      Cameron now makes it clear why he will not lead the UK out the EU, because like many commentators suggested, he will step down instead. Why waste a vote on him that is the real question people need to ask themselves.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 24, 2015 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

        But all immigrants live under the arches, or in tents, or they sleep on park benches. That is why their arrival has no effect whatsoever on the housing market, no matter how large the influx may be.

        Similarly all immigrants bring with them an unlimited supply of the elixir of youth, so they will forever remain young workers kindly helping us out with our problem of an ageing population.

  2. Lifelogich
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Indeed but what is needed is simply more supply of houses in the areas of demand, not silly tinkering with saving schemes to buy. Simpler planning, fewer building regulation, less green drivel, cheaper utility connections or just fewer people.

    • A different Simon
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      All these schemes are just cosmetic attempts to pull the wool over the electorates eyes .

      I’ll go for a few more houses and a lot less people please .

      A properly numerate population wouldn’t get themselves into such difficulties and would be in a position to demand better financial products and hold poli’s to account .

      The UK desperately needs to reverse the dumbing down of maths in schools which has clearly been deliberate .

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 24, 2015 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

        Indeed A level maths look more like the O levels of the seventies. Some poorly worded and ambiguous/vague questions too.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 25, 2015 at 8:39 am | Permalink

        Indeed cosmetic attempt to pretend the government is doing something when what is needed is an increase in supply of houses, fewer people or a bit of both.

        You increase housing supply by relaxing planning laws, removing OTT building regs, getting some real competition in banking, sorting out over expensive utility connections, getting rid of the social housing (back door developer tax), going for cheap energy, relaxing employment laws, reducing stamp duty on new houses and similar moves. Not these silly endless gimmicks that governments so love.

  3. Lifelogich
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    There is however little reason why some people should get cheap subsidised housing giving them far more disposable income that others in market rate housing.

    Two such families earning the same but on with perhaps £10,000 more pa disposable income. Surely one should charge market rates if the tenant can afford them. Otherwise the tenant is unlikely to leave the property even if they can afford to.

    • Jerry
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      @LL; “There is however little reason why some people should get cheap subsidised housing giving them far more disposable income that others in market rate housing.”

      Not sure that follows, if these people had the income levels in the first place surely they would be able to obtain mortgage funding in the usual ways, thus those taking advantage of this scheme are unlikely to have any greater disposable income than those going through those usual channels – of course if the scheme is allowed to be abused by people who should be obtaining their mortgage funding via the more usual means then indeed all bets are off as to some having far more disposable income that others in market!…

      Totally agree with your (earlier) comment about the need for more supply of housing (but I would also include social housing [1]), simpler planning rules and cheaper utilities connections etc. As for fewer people, I’m not sure that is realistic, perhaps we need to look to the using “air rights” again, whilst those awful UK 1960s system built high-rise blocks of flats were almost always abject failures the same is not true in many areas of the world, basically UK government housing policy moved the wrong people into such apartments.

      [1] because there will always be some for who even a subsidised mortgage is out of reach, as are the current rent levels found in the private sector

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 24, 2015 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        Fine give people who need help with rent some subsidy when they need it. But not a cheap house for life regardless of their income. That is grossly unfair to others paying the market rate and having their taxes used to subsidise others often with far more disposable income than they have.

        • petermartin2001
          Posted March 24, 2015 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

          Lifelogic,

          For once I agree with you. This is a very sensible suggestion. Social housing could also be tied in with an element of compulsory saving, which can be income dependent, to be released with the vacation of the property.

          That way, young people will have somewhere to live for a few years and at the same time they’ll accumulate a cash sum which can be used to get them started in the housing market.

    • Pud
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      “Otherwise the tenant is unlikely to leave the property even if they can afford to.” instantly made me think of the late Bob Crow, reported as having a £145K salary from the RMT but he insisted on his right to live in a taxpayer-subsidised council house.
      Bob Crow might be an extreme example, but surely the point of social housing is to provide a roof over the heads of those who couldn’t otherwise afford it? If the council is just another landlord they should be charging market rents to those who aren’t in need of assistance.

      • A different Simon
        Posted March 24, 2015 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        Frank Dobson is another .

        Might not be a gimmick .

        The benefits of moving probably don’t outweigh the upheaval of moving for him – but it would create a vacancy for someone else .

        Can you imagine Blair or Miliband spending a single night on a council estate ?

        Could make a fake documentary about it ; the Blair …….. Project .

      • REPay
        Posted March 24, 2015 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

        An investment banker friend of mine had a council house for the first few years of his career as he bought multiple houses, rented them out and then sold them. Chippendale in a south London housing estate…

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      So Osborne (on top of his recent further pension cap mugging and his continued IHT ratting) now virtually says he will put VAT up again, even further than the current absurdly high 20% level. He has refused to match the Labour pledge not to increase VAT again after the election.

      Has anyone told him there is an election in six weeks time or is he just absolutely determined to throw a second one? And all to pay for endless government waste on green crap, HS2, misguided overseas aid, pointless wars, a dysfunctional and rather inept NHS, poor schools, endless bureaucrats and regulators, the EU ….

      • fedupsouthener
        Posted March 24, 2015 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I see the solar market is moaning about lack of subsidies. Why don’t they stand on their own two feet like other businesses have to? VAT is absurdly high now. How long before the VAT is almost as much as the goods?

  4. Mark B
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    The home is taken out of the rental market and put into the private market, removing people who can afford the former, but not the latter. More rental homes means more choice for those who cannot afford a mortgage and therefore, lower rents.

    Of course, the downside to the governments point of view is, many people can move around in a rental market, and the government does not see a penny. But move just once in the private market, and the Conservatives will hit you.

    Low tax party ? Do me a favour !

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      Exactly stamp duty (at the absurdly high level we now have) make buying unattractive, unless you know you are certainly staying put for at least 5+ years. It makes moving to a new job unattractive plus the employer can no longer recompense you without pay yet more tax due to limits imposed on removal costs. They now can often not even cover SDLT.

  5. Mondeo Man
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    “The only thing that has changed is the state has some of its money back from the sale, so it can reduce its debts or build a new property with the money.”

    The only other thing that has changed is that the home will never be affordable again.

    If the homes are to be privatised then they should be put on the open market at the local rate. This is not the ’80s. Because of that era homes have become this nation’s gold bullion and are too precious to be given away cheaply.

    To qualify for social housing one must go to the authorities pleading helplessness – whereas Tory minded people must wrest with their student debts, work competitively, pay extortionate private rents whilst saving hard for deposits, then pay extortionate rates to buy a home possibly using their parents’ pensions too !

    This will be resented, John – and will cost you more votes as – yet again – you are appealing to a market which has and never will vote Tory.

    The ’80s was then and this is now.

    Giving away property at discounted rates will be watched jealously by those trying their hardest to do it the normal way.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      I watched Location, Location, Location with dismay last night as a professional couple (doubtless 40% taxpayers) struggled to afford a tiny basement flat in a popular, but none too salubrious part of London.

      Kirsty Allsop said of the din coming from the upstairs flat “You don’t even get peace and quiet for half a million quid these days !”

      No. This is certainly not the ’80s anymore.

      There is a population crisis, not a housing one. Around here they’ve ripped out all the factories and built housing estates and warehouses !

      • JoeSoap
        Posted March 24, 2015 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

        You’re lucky with warehouses. here they rip out the warehouses for housing.

        • Jerry
          Posted March 24, 2015 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

          @JoeSoap; “here they rip out the warehouses for housing”

          Indeed but this is due more to the NIMBY’s, and now government planners, wanting “brown field” sites to be redeveloped before allowing any green field site developments.

  6. Ted Monbiot
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    I dont see that “social housing” is much cheaper that private rented housing.

    The fundamental is more homes and a reduction in the rate of population growth.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      Indeed easier planning, get rid of the OTT building controls, more competition in banking thus more houses and/or just fewer people. Tinkering with ISA house savings and the likes is totally pointless.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      The government previously said that it was worried about over-population, and partly at their urging we reduced our natural rate of population growth almost to zero, with the number of births each year barely exceeding the number of deaths. Thereupon the government changed its mind and decided that we hadn’t been having enough children, so they would start importing other people’s children from abroad. Suddenly a perpetually increasing population was no longer a threat, instead it became beneficial, in fact an economic necessity.

  7. agricola
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    I heartily agree, home ownership this way should be encouraged. After a five year tenant and landlord get to know each other period in the public sector, why not facilitate it by turning rent payment into mortgage payment. This way the housing association looses the maintenance burden but retains an income from mortgage payments.

    Not five miles from where I used to live in England I could take you to a council estate where the Margaret Thatcher effect hits you in the face. Double glazed houses with brick drives and neat gardens, her idea transformed the area. I draw the line at Georgian pillars but everyone has their own idea of what home should be.

    Socialism does not like it because they see it as a loss of control, their control. I see it as the first glint of freedom and maintain that there is much else a radical government could do to extend the sense of freedom via the tax system. Just think what it might do for people if they learnt to take even more responsibility for their own lives.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      Agricola – This is not the ’80s. Houses are now the UK’s gold bullion. These cannot be gifted or doled out on the cheap. And social housing cannot be affordable once it’s been privatised.

      Tory minded people don’t go to the authorities and ask for housing. They get a job. Save taxed income hard whilst paying over inflated rent. Borrow from the bank of Mum and Dad.

      How are they supposed to feel when the Tory party rewards people who will never vote for them ?

    • graham1946
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      Agricola.

      So this would apply to the private landlords as well? To the buy to let crowd too? If not why not?

  8. alan jutson
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    So let me get this right.

    You have an estate of 100 houses, which has a fully costed maintenance and income plan, so that you can build more houses in the future (if land becomes available)

    You sell off some houses cheaper than market rates, so cheap in fact that the sale price does not cover the cost to build any replacements, at the same time your present and future income stream is reduced.

    The planned maintenance is now a shambles as a percentage do not belong to you, the new owners start changing all sorts of things like doors and windows, so the estate loses its possible architectural and possible original kerb appeal.

    After 5 years or so the new owners sell up at market rates and make a larger than normal profit.

    The result, you hope you have bribed enough people to vote for you.

    No new houses are built because your income has reduced, and a new house costs more to build than you got from the sale of the old one.

    Am I missing something ?

    • agricola
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      Yes you are, your solution perpetuates the dependency culture. Tenants do not normally take much pride in where they live if they have no stake in it. so gardens get littered with old prams, tyres and supermarket trolleys, perhaps it’s a form of “Art Socialista”. I would have thought kerb appeal could only apply to your newly acquired BMW, god knows what it has to do with council houses.

      After five years, what if they do sell up, it is their house. They then move one to a better one, so generating GDP with their purchase of new appliances etc.

      The net result is that you have a family with a vested interest in the community and everyone paying rates has contributed to the upward mobility of a section of the community that would otherwise find it impossible to progress. Much more use than racial harmony executives on inflated salaries. Do you realise that about one third and rising of the average local authority spend is on pensions for it’s employees. Why can’t they pay for their own pensions just like the self employed have to. What are we doing feather bedding a privileged segment of the community.

      • alan jutson
        Posted March 24, 2015 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        agricola

        “…..Tenants do not normally take pride…….”

        Really !

        So what you are suggesting is the Council have no rules that the tenant has to abide by, or are too lazy to enforce them.

        Perhaps I am getting too old, but in the days when my grandparents lived on a council estate 1930-1970 there were rules which applied with regards to keeping gardens tidy, hedges cut, the house in a clean and fit state so that it could be maintained correctly by the Council.
        No antisocial behaviour to neighbours was also part of the requirement, as was an up to date rent payment record.
        Failure to comply with any of those points would be a reason for the Council to terminate the tenancy agreement.
        For their part the Council only charged a reasonable rent and kept the properties maintained and in a good state of repair.

        The result: The whole estate looked smart and neat and tidy and had a true community spirit with pride in the area, graffiti and the like was simply unheard of, because the tenants of the estate would sort out the problem at source because they had pride in where they lived..

        Like so many things today, standards seem to have slipped on both sides as each blames the other for their problems.

        Its not simply down to a lack of money, but simply a lazy, careless and selfish mindset on both sides.

        Time for the Council to either enforce their rules, or make some new ones.

      • Mondeo Man
        Posted March 24, 2015 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

        Agricola – Well how about those who have an interest in the community and being responsible despite being locked out of it through being ineligible for housing support, yet being unable to afford a home of their own ?

        In the ’70s and ’80s I don’t recall their being a dependency culture – not anything like it is today. That grew in spite of council house policy. In any case – those houses were sold off to tame union members, not to bring welfare dependents into line.

        Alan – ‘to bribe enough people to vote Tory’.

        Rewarding the wrong people again. Hence the loss of Tory votes and membership.

    • A different Simon
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      Alan Jutson ,

      You didn’t finish the story .

      25 years later 50% of them will be BTL’s typically owned by Far Eastern “investors” , ex-MP’s , private equity and international hedge funds .

      They will charge inflated rents which will be paid by as housing benefits which will in turn put a floor under rents across the whole disfunctional market .

      • Hope
        Posted March 24, 2015 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

        And the govt, at the expense of the taxpayer, will still need to provide housing for those who cannot buy. So why did the Tories introduce the so called bedroom tax?

    • Gary C
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      Missing something ? . . . . . . . . Only that it is us the tax payer that has and still is paying for this fiasco and to add insult to our injury Osborne’s help-to-buy Isa will also have to be paid for by those struggling to keep their heads above water.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      Nope, and you travel from 1980 to 2015.

    • Bob
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      Oh Alan, so cynical for one so young!

      • alan jutson
        Posted March 24, 2015 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

        Bob

        Not so young, I am now a pensioner and remember many council estates which looked smart in the 50’s, 60’s, and even part of the 70’s.

        After that everything seemed to go to pot !

        • Bob
          Posted March 24, 2015 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

          @Alan
          I was referring to your remark:
          “The result, you hope you have bribed enough people to vote for you. “ 🙂

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      No, you’ve summed it up nicely.

    • stred
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      Alan. Good to know someone with building experience knows what he’s talking about. This all started because council houses were occupied by families who has joint incomes much higher than the original tenants. Then they enjoyed the benefit of a 50% discount, making building another equivalent house impossible without hidden subsidies, such as free land. What is wrong with giving say a 10% discount?

  9. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Translation – more home owners equals more Conservative voters in the same way as wider share ownership would lead to greater numbers of Conservative voters. The tory version of Labour’s client state.

    Except that is not what happens is it? Profit taking means more property in buy to let landlord hands and higher average rents driving even higher rents for all.

    There may be a case for this policy if in the short term one house sold was replaced by two houses built in the social sector and if anyone living in a social house when it was sold became ineligible for social housing themselves. After all if those buying social housing at knock down prices become home owners they must also sign up to being the bank of mum and dad.

    Further once their children have flown the nest will these recipients of taxpayer largesse fall foul of some form of the spare room subsidy whether they stay in a house too large or downsize and release “our” equity.

    The unfair on working family mantra applies to your own doctrine too.

    • agricola
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      So home owners vote conservative do they? The majority of the shadow cabinet might take exception to such a statement.

      • Jerry
        Posted March 24, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        @Narrow Shoulders; @agricola; They might not vote Tory but they do have bank accounts and (being mortgage holders) credit ratings, thus they are open to other financial products, such as credit cards. Also those in debt are far less likely to restrict/remove their labour from the workplace via union strike activity. Go on, call me cynical if you want!…

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 24, 2015 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

        Well if they have any sense and morality they certainly do not vote Labour. Not that Cameron is much better.

        • Hope
          Posted March 24, 2015 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

          No point voting Cameron, the Tories ought to come clean who will be in charge. The public might get what they had before vote Blaire and get Brown. This time vote Cameron and get May and gay marriage!,,,

          Reply Mr C has made clear he will do the next 5 years as PM if the election permits.

          • Hope
            Posted March 25, 2015 at 9:23 am | Permalink

            He has promised an awful lot and broken so much that you cannot believe a word he says. Remember the no ifs or buts on immigration when he knew he had no control over EU migrants, perhaps the we will not bail out directly or indirectly Eurozone countries, perhaps his promise to you that there would be a debate on the EAW, or that he would not promote closer union to the EU and then spent£18 million pounds of taxpayers’ money doing exactly that. Now for some reason you think we ought to believe him! Get real.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted March 24, 2015 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        @agrocola

        If we made policy based on the whims of champagne socialists we would be right where we are at present wouldn’t you agree?

        The do as I say not as I do brigade have taken this country backwards over the last 25 years or so.

        • Jerry
          Posted March 24, 2015 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

          @Narrow Shoulders; Only the last 25 years?! More like 50….

      • graham1946
        Posted March 24, 2015 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

        My old dad used to say that workers started out Labour, then when they got two pairs of socks they became Tory.

  10. bigneil
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    As there are many thousands now in this country who have come here, paid “their rent” using the benefits they have been given purely for arriving here and contributing nothing – isn’t the idea of “giving” them the house they have lived in – because they have “paid rent”- just the same as them walking in -and we give them a free house straight away? After all – we – or more correctly – the govt – gives them the money in the first place – just so they can hand some back as s0-called “rent”. The idea is/was totally stupid.
    The group I mention ( no particular race/religion) are – and always will be – nothing but financial parasites -a drain on money, a drain on housing, and a drain on the NHS, but the govt welcomes them in – to be a burden on the taxpayer. Now, thanks to what the Westminster elite have signed us up to – we have a never-ending queue of freeloaders wanting their non-contributory lives on the English slaves.

    • Bob
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      @bigneil > If this blog allowed voting on comments, yours would receive a big thumbs up from me. There are also some who use buy to let mortgages to provide their friends and relatives with accommodation funded by housing benefit so that tax payers are effectively buying the property for them.

      I can’t believe that any right thinking person would vote for the LibLabCon if they understood what was going on. Our cancer survival rates more than 10 years behind other European countries and yet we continue giving money away like there was no tomorrow, and to add insult to injury every pound we give away is a pound added to our colossal national debt.

      This cannot be all be due to incompetence, there is an agenda that lies behind this apparent nonsense.

  11. John E
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    The frustration of those who cannot buy a home and start a family will be one of the key reasons that your party will lose the election.
    We need much more supply of homes at affordable prices.
    The idea that high house prices is a good thing has been a central error of this government.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      John E – Unfortunately unaffordable housing is key to the economic ‘recovery’.

  12. Bert Young
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    The underlying psychology of ownership is the important thing . The attitude of “it is yours” more often than not means “I will take care of it ” and shifts the burden from the public sector .

  13. oldtimer
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    With zero knowledge of the Housing Association market, it seems to me sensible to permit sales to those who currently rent in order to release capital for new developments. What does not seem very sensible is stoking up demand for new houses with various subsidy wheezes without extending supply. The lack of new supply to meet demand is the central problem in the housing market – and the source of the problem probably lies in the thicket of regulations and restrictions that serve to inhibit that supply. Nothing new there in modern day Britain.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      Old Timer.

      Wrong. Wrong and thrice wrong.

      Too large a population is the problem.

  14. Chriss
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    People who object to HA and Council House sales conveniently forget how Mrs Thatcher’s revolutionary policy transformed most council estates for the better.

    Most estates, even in middle class areas were sink estates where you only lived in if you had no other choice. The minimal maintenance and poorly kept gardens added to the effect. Put simply they were second class places to live.

    The first sign of owner occupation was always a new front door followed by double glazing and a nicely kept garden. Within 10 years those estates where owner occupancy took off became very reasonable places to live and the effect rubbed off on some of those that remained tenants who made more effort to look after their properties.

    Now there is no longer a stigma in living on an ex-council estate and the resale market is healthy and prices reflect that.

    Mrs T’s only mistake was to prevent councils using the money to build more houses. I understand why because some would have perpetuated the sink estate by building new ones ! This could no longer happen because Housing Association properties are so much better and standards are much higher. They are also smaller developments.

    I support the sale of HA properties on a 100% or shared ownership basis for all the reasons our host suggests. The only objections will come from socialists bent on maintains the status of tenants being beholden to authority, left wing authority, of course.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      “Mrs T’s only mistake was to prevent councils using the money to build more houses” True, so the money could be used to replace that screwed from developers to build social housing, cutting the market cost of new builds.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 24, 2015 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

        Indeed money taken off developers forcing them to build social housing units is just yet another tax on new houses for others. It further decreases the supply of houses and cheaper houses for all.

  15. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    With the population increasing by 300,000 per annum purely by immigration how will there ever be enough houses to meet the endless demand? Please don’t tell me that your manifesto will include a pledge to reduce this to the tens of thousands, just as your last one did, when you know full well that such a promise was, and still is, incompatible with membership of the EU.

  16. Bob
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    So David Cameron has accepted that he will not be serving a third term, presumably because he knows that in the unlikely event that he gets a second term that his handling of his promised 2017 referendum will ensure that he doesn’t get a third term, but a third would be superfluous anyway because he will have served his purpose to bury any prospects for the UK to regain self rule.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      That seems to be the plan.

      Cameron and Osborne show every sign of wanting to lose even this election.

  17. ferdinand
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Giving occupiers of Housing Association proprieties the option to buy makes moral sense as well as economic. It motivates people to achieve aims and frees up capital to expand further the supply of lower price homes. It’s a good idea which should be standard practice.

    • alan jutson
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      ferdinand

      Yes it would make sense if the houses were sold at a profit, which allowed you to build more new houses.

      The small problem is that the sale cost does not cover the building of new properties.

      Thus the more you build, the more you lose under this scheme.

      Absolute and utter madness.

      • ferdinand
        Posted March 25, 2015 at 8:57 am | Permalink

        Yes, but the loss has already been made so a sale releases funds whatever the price.

  18. Vanessa
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    The trouble with this government is that it still follows Labour and all its policies mirror Labour ones. There is NO RIGHT to buy anything unless you have the money to afford to buy it – simple as that.

    There is no RIGHT to have children either – there is, thankfully, nothing governments can do about that, financially. There are NO RIGHTS in life and the sooner we bury this ludicrous idea the better. What happens to you, you deal with as best you can. That’s life!

  19. Matt
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    On balance I think the right to buy is probably a good thing. State rental properties distort the market, the long term solution to which is to get the state out of the landlord business. Hopefully the revenue from these sales will be used to help bring the debt under control and reduce the overall size of government.
    I’m not entirely happy about people who have already had more than their share of assistance from the taxpayer getting subsidised to buy a house, but over-all it seems like a positive step.

    At some point we’re going to have to get out of this long term housing bubble. It would be nice it could be gentle with house prices roughly stabilising in cash terms so that they gradually reduce in real terms. The state really can’t go on forcing demand to exceed supply in the housing market for ever.

  20. David
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    If everyone could get a housing assocation property then this would be a good idea.
    However only a lucky few can, this is a lottery which rewards only a few not on any merit just because they are lucky enough to get a housing assocation property (which is often cheaper rent than buying or private renting).
    I thought the Tories were in favour of people benefiting due to hard work, not because someone decided that person x should get cheaper housing but not person y.
    We need the following in the UK :-
    1) More houses
    2) In the South East stop giving people (of any race) who don’t work there homes (they can live somewhere else) and let people who work rent/buy homes there. A good example is the family of Jihad John who were given expensive housing under John Major, Blair, Brown and Cameron – housing that normal people who work in London can’t afford.
    Probably Jihad John’s family will be one of the undeserving few who will benefit from this

    • JoeSoap
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. It is the only way the market will find equilibrium. Giving homes away, or selling them cheaply, at least in the South East, will just encourage movement south to where the high paying jobs (created and paid by taxes of those who already work and rent/own at high prices) are. Just so a lucky few can benefit from cheap housing/high paid job.
      That is quite crazy.

    • Jerry
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      @David; “2) In the South East stop giving people (of any race) who don’t work there homes (they can live somewhere else) and let people who work rent/buy homes there. A good example is the family of Jihad John who were given expensive housing under John Major, Blair, Brown and Cameron – housing that normal people who work in London can’t afford.”

      Nice (well thought out, not…) rant against a family whose son has obviously become either mentally disturbed or brainwashed at the very least, and no that was not trying to excuse his murders before anyone suggest it. But onwards to the real problem with your “non-racial” policy, how will it affect those (British passport holders) born and raised in the South East, who through no fault of their own do not have work but need their ‘own’ homes (for what ever reason, perhaps because of their own growing children), are you seriously suggesting that such people would have to move away from their natural support network (their parents) and parents should have to loose their natural support network (their children) later in life because by then their off-spring have made another life elsewhere in the country? Such a policy would likely see the same social problems as happened in the 1950s and ’60s during the London clearance programme of rehousing/slum clearance that added so much to the social service and/or health and/or policing budgets and so on.

      • Ted Monbiot
        Posted March 27, 2015 at 9:14 am | Permalink

        Presumably Jerry, like me, you live where you can afford to.

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      Exactly. YOu either have to be an unmarried mother on benefits or an immigrant. Either way, you win. Other people who decide to do things properly and have children that they pay to bring up are the ones paying for those who sit back and do nothing and yet get all the rewards. That’s life in Britain today. Do nothing and get everything. Do your best, work your butt off and pay for it.

      • David
        Posted March 26, 2015 at 8:50 am | Permalink

        Unfortunately both new and blue Labour think that it was fine that Jihad John’s family got such expensive housing.

        • Jerry
          Posted March 27, 2015 at 8:52 am | Permalink

          @David; Was that before or after he decided to become a Jihadist?…

          • Ted Monbiot
            Posted March 28, 2015 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

            It seems the apple did not fall far from the tree.

  21. graham1946
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Of course the houses sold do not disappear, but ipso facto, they do disappear from the affordable rental sector and this would not be a problem if our population remained static, so that is where your logic fails.

    Why do you suggest the money raised from the sale be used for other purposes? Surely the sensible thing to do would be to use the money to build new replacement houses. This was specifically banned by Mrs. Thatcher and this was the shortsightedness of the her policy. Had this been allowed, we would now have an equal number of social houses to match the houses sold, and being new, councils would have lower maintenance costs. But this was not based on being sensible it was just right wing bile against public ownership of anything and we are paying for it now with housing shortages and ever higher private rents, which were inflamed by governments paying these rents. Shortsighted does not even begin to cover it – it has been a criminal waste of public money fueling the buy to let market, with all its attendant consequences of high prices and shortages.

    Reply It was not banned! Councils could spend their receipts, but they did of course have to pay off any borrowings against the homes they sold.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply
      So ipso facto it was banned.
      Why did they have to pay off the debts from the previous houses to build new ones?
      Possibly because the previous houses were sold at below replacement cost. And therein lies the charge of ideology for this policy. Create a new class of Tory voters, from those who bought Council houses cheap. The problem is that 30 years down the line you have mass immigration and not enough publicly owned housing.

      Just sell and replace, sell and replace…

      • Jerry
        Posted March 24, 2015 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

        @JoeSoap; It didn’t even need immigration to cause these unforeseen (?) problems from not renewing, for what ever reasons, the social housing stocks in sufficient quantities, it just took the children of the baby-boomer generation and their own maturing children.

      • Mondeo Man
        Posted March 24, 2015 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

        So much for the council housing sell off.

        The Tories were out of office for three terms and failed to win a fourth outright.

        It seems unlikely that they will win a fifth.

    • Jerry
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      @JR Reply; “It was not banned! Councils could spend their receipts, but they did of course have to pay off any borrowings against the homes they sold.”

      If so why has the untruth been allowed to fester for 30 years, the claim was first made back in the 1980s and has been trotted out by the left-wing regularly ever since, is this really just a case of the left repeating something for long enough that it has become an urban legend?

      Reply Yes. I used to explain it endlessly in the 1980s

      • JoeSoap
        Posted March 24, 2015 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

        Reply
        Endlessly repeating this won’t help. Had you said that the Council’s existing mortgage could be transferred to new housing stock, they may well have obliged. You didn’t. They sold £30’000-£100’000 houses at the time for peanuts, put the peanuts in “reserves” (probably ended up in an Icelandic bank account or as a pension contribution for those hard working council employees), and left us with no houses and no money.
        Bad idea.
        Don’t repeat it please.

    • graham1946
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply.

      O.K. I accept what you say, though it is generally thought not to be so. Your lot certainly have not made much of a challenge to this ‘error of thinking’. Why? Seems rather dubious – I guess it suited the Tories for this to be the case, thereby preventing more new replacement houses being built by giving the councils a good excuse.

      Mrs. T could have insisted that the money was used to provide new houses, but she did not – she did not want this. She wanted public ownership of everything stopped and as much as possible sold off, even at a loss to the state for no more than idealogical reasons, not common sense in solving problems which surely is the reason for politics in the first place.

  22. Tad Davison
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    ‘The only thing that has changed is the state has some of its money back from the sale, so it can reduce its debts or build a new property with the money.’

    But there’s the flaw with the initial legislation John. Some councils (predominantly Labour ones) had bigger debts than some small countries, and the money from the sale of their housing stock was used to help pay them off, not build new houses. Thus, the total number steadily diminished. Another case where debt and bad management ultimately crippled an otherwise half-decent policy, so I often wonder if there would have been the present housing shortage had a new council house been built for every exiting one sold, and maybe, even accelerated?

    To take something of a tangential route, I remember spending a fair bit of time in Newcastle after the riots of the early 1990s to study the social conditions there, and in some places, two out of every three council houses were boarded up and abandoned. Nobody wanted them even if the entrenched Labour-controlled city council had given them away. And the council were in a race with the local people who would be in there nicking the fixtures and fittings almost before the original occupants had left.

    The area was very depressed, yet nearly twenty-five years on, many properties still remain empty in the North-East, and property prices generally are so much lower than elsewhere. Such a waste, all because of the failures of central and local government.

    If George Osborne can create a northern powerhouse then it might finally come good, but it will take a social revolution to make more aspirant people want to live in these run-down places, so they have to be backed up with a law and order policy that effectively removes crime( word left out ed) from their streets. But time will tell if the Chancellor can deliver, and there’s a small matter of a General Election in the meantime.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

  23. Roy Grainger
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Where I live (Hammersmith) the newly-installed Labour local council are planning to “privatise” the entire council housing stock by transferring it all to a housing association. The reason for this is purely political to put the council housing beyond the reach of any future Conservative council so that, for example, tenants have no right to buy. Of course this is an anti-democratic move which puts control of council housing beyond any democratic accountability. It is amusing that these new proposals look set to spike the guns of the Labourites.

    • Jerry
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      @Roy Grainger; “[transferring it all to a housing association] puts control of council housing beyond any democratic accountability.”

      And flogging off the council housing stock doesn’t?!…

  24. forthurst
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Near where I live, there are several older council house estates, whether they are administered by Housing Associations or not I’m not sure; generally speaking there are three classes of property there, of which by far the tattiest are the buy-to-let properties containing tenants paying higher rents than if they were Council tenants to live in a property which is manifestly poorly maintained. Buy-to-let is the ultimate destination of properties which are undesirable on the qualification of location, location, location.

    Apart from being a thorough disappointment in its lack of radical solutions, this government has espoused policies to do with the subsidy of first-time buyers at the expense of General or Council Tax payers, many of whom will never get into the happy position of owning their own properties. These are typical spiv policies designed to buy votes at other peoples’ expense because the government is inhibited from adopting the radical policies which are necessary to make genuine improvements in peoples’ lives, like getting out of the EU, getting out of the neocon-run NATO, introducing selective schools for the children of non-spivs, breaking up RBS, and curtailing the immigration of all people whose presence here would not constitute a clearly positive benefit to the English people whose country this is.

  25. Stephen Berry
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Anyone who cares about freedom wants to diminish the size of the state. That includes the area of housing where the state has no right to be. Council housing is run at a loss by most councils and if diminished, there would be an obvious benefit to the taxpayer. Housing associations receive significant subsidies from the state and it would be obviously good to get these subsidies down too.

    A right to buy from housing associations would, I assume, be as popular as the right to buy from councils. Why not give the remaining council properties to existing tenants? That way, the cost of maintaining them falls on the tenants and not the rest of us. For instance, there ought to be an immediate saving on housing benefit which would no longer have to be paid to many of these tenants.

    In Eastern Europe they seem to have managed to get the state out of housing. And they were in a much more difficult position, as anyone who saw the housing stock left by the communist regimes can testify.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted March 25, 2015 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      It helps that large numbers of the Easter European populations have moved to the west.

  26. James Winfield
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Any chance that the Conservative Party might start to take the lack of supply of housing seriously?

  27. A different Simon
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    In exchange for increasing the basic pay , the MP’s employment contracts ought to be changed as follows :-

    – exclusive . No directorships , consultancies etc .

    – require the MP to dispose of their property portfolios beyond those which they regularly occupy .

    We’ve got enough vested interests already . Need some politicians on our side .

  28. JoeSoap
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Noooooo.
    The thing that has changed is that somebody who couldn’t afford to buy previously has now bought the house they were living in rather than buying an house already on the open market, which would have freed up that subsidised house for another family who cannot afford to buy.
    You got this (but few other things) wrong in the eighties.
    Don’t do it again!

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely agree with this. there will always be people who cannot afford to buy and they either have to have council accommodation or rent privately. Either way they need help with rent. The problem with selling off council property so cheaply is that there are not enough new homes being built and a lack of cheap affordable housing to rent. If you want to buy then go an buy a house that is not council owned. There are enough out there and leave the council stock for those who cannot afford to buy.

      • Jerry
        Posted March 27, 2015 at 9:07 am | Permalink

        @fedupsouthener; “If you want to buy then go an buy a house that is not council owned. There are enough out there and leave the council stock for those who cannot afford to buy.”

        But is there, much of the cheaper first time buyer properties, unless a part of a new build development (the social housing element), has been bought up by the BTL speculators.

  29. petermartin2001
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    The impact on state finances is usually positive. The new owner takes over the costs of maintaining and repairing the property from the Housing Association. The Housing Association saves costs and has a receipt which it can use for other purposes.

    What about the rent which is received by the Housing Association before the sale but isn’t received afterwards? These sales are another form of privatisation, which supposedly are justified to ‘reduce debts’. It’s voodoo economics as Ralph above has pointed out.

    Is the owner of a house worth £250k but with a mortgage of £100k , really in debt? Financially he is in debt but overall his balance sheet is positive to the tune of £150k. Selling the house doesn’t change that at all. His net worth is still £150k. He doesn’t have to pay interest on his loan, any longer, but if he wants somewhere to live he’ll have to start paying rent.

    Neither does forcing housing associations to sell off their properties at full market price change their balance sheets. But, forcing them to sell off their properties at less than market price, of course, does reduce them.

    Its the same story with the sell-off of the Royal Mail. Has the receipt of £1 billion or so made the country richer? No of course not. Even if the price obtained had been the full market price, ( but which it wasn’t) the country wouldn’t be a penny better off. The figures on the balance sheet would just go in different columns and under different headings. That’s all.

    Government intervention to force a change of ownership, of anything at all, is a political act not an economic one. That’s just as true whether it’s a privatization or a nationalisation.

    • Ted Monbiot
      Posted March 27, 2015 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      The Royal Mail sale turned an asset into cash for the State.
      The State can then spend that money on good things.

  30. forthurst
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    On the topic of houses, there are still no Photos published on this site of the insides of JR’s kitchens including the insides of the fridges; how many are there; what are the comestibles (including quality, such as Organic or sprayed with Roundup) and and what are the labour-saving devices including members of the female persuasion, giving pricing and provenance in all cases.

    Reply I have no plan to reveal my kitchen to the world.

    • Bob
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      “Reply I have no plan to reveal my kitchen to the world.”

      Surely you mean kitchens Mr R?

  31. waramess
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    A complete nonsense in any event. What on earth are people who might be able to buy a house doing in subsidised council owned accommodation anyway?

    Surely they should be paying the full commercial rent and then the council would be able to sell off to a commercial landlord at the full market price.

    The third bedroom tax was always going to be a disaster because it was not properly targeted but targeting the people with sufficient earnings to pay the full rent should not be beyond the wit of even this administration.

    Subsidised sales are not a gift of the government they are a cost to the rest of us.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      I think the point is they sell these houses cheaply to people they perceive to be unable to buy their own place without government largesse. 30 years ago people thought of this as a hand up. There were thousands of folk who had, as a consequence of the war years, not achieved their full potential in the job market and resided in long term council accommodation. Even then it was a bad idea without replacing the houses sold.
      Now anybody who could or should have bought a house probably has on the open market. A repeat performance would be seen as a bribe, and the recipients would be likely to have had the opportunity to buy their own home at the proper price, like everyone else.

  32. ian wragg
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    A more hideous idea I have never heard of. Lots of the (social) houses around me are occupied by foreigners. No doubt they will be the first in line to grab a bargain having paid no positive contribution to the exchequer and now being offered a cheap property.
    The association will get a cheque but only a fraction of the cost of building similar units so their housing stock will be reduced significantly.
    Talk about unintended consequences, the houses that were previously sold tend to be in roughly the same condition as when bought except for tidy gardens and minor cosmetic work. Not so the council house, all have been re roofed, rendered with new windows and doors together with fences and gates. Some of the semi’s look grotesque as the private house looks totally run down.
    Another common trait is the houses that were bought were by the children for their parents. Now the parents have departed a large number are rented and a nice little earner for the kids. Some of them making 40 – 50% on historical purchase price plus having an asset worth 10 – 15 times what they paid.
    We were bought up in a 2 up 2 down and never had the chance of a council house so haven’t been able to share the taxpayer largesse.

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 27, 2015 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      Unlike David Cameron, who insulted anyone against this policy of selling social housing off cheap recently, I spent the first four years of my life in my Nan’s Council ‘tin’ house whilst my parents scrimped and saved a deposit (four of us in one room). We could have bought my Nan’s council house a decade ago and been renting it out for a pretty penny now but we let it go back into housing stock for a family to benefit from low rents/rates, as my Nan who lived her entire life cleaning full time couldn’t have afforded private rents to live. That’s why I’m against this policy John because I live in the real world and see people, usually married couples with a couple of kids stuck in private rentals and women who’ve spent over twenty years never working a day living free in social renting and then when the last kid turns 18 kicking them out, moving their fella in and buying up the social rental she’s had for free cheap.

  33. Iain Gill
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    I voted for Mrs T when she brought in right to buy. But I wont be voting for this policy now. The whole political class have lost the plot when it comes to housing and are making this country an international laughing stock. That you lot can keep a straight face and come up with this nonsense is beyond me. Stop hyping house prices… Stop manipulating the market and taxing the pips out of private tenants to support the mortgaged, and social housing classes. John please see sense and stop talking this nonsense up as somehow sensible.

    • JoeSoap
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

      He/they have form on this nonsense – Help to Buy, this new ISA, Right to Buy, Right to Flip for MPs, ZIRP to help the housing market, QE, planning restrictions, …. all of it has tilted the housing market and hyped prices disproportionately to market reality. This has done ENORMOUS economic damage in this country, squeezed out investment for productive enterprise and is reason # 245 not to vote LibLabCon

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 25, 2015 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      I agree with you Iain, I know too many young couples with families paying sky high private rentals in tiny houses with massive council tax bills on top, many of whom are in ex-council houses with couples next door who are not paying any rent for their three bedroom council home at all.

  34. Jon
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    The younger folk at work like this and the loan package that was there before. All these measures have been going down well with young professionals in London from discussions I have heard over the months.

    These policies give a hope to own when prices are so high. More the better and don’t see a down side. The Conservatives got hit in the 80s by not requiring local authorities to re invest in community comes when they sold them. Of course many were run by Labour who chose not to re invest but that’s politics.

    • Jon
      Posted March 24, 2015 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      Interesting reading the comments and replies. I hadn’t thought that the sale of council houses would need to pay off loans used to build them. I like probably many assumed they were owned not leveraged. A point perhaps that should have been more in the public domain. Guess with the discounts there wasn’t much cash then!

  35. Jon
    Posted March 24, 2015 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Is this the first time in history that cash savings have kept pace with or returned better than inflation?

    Cash savings always lost value against inflation, it was never a growth investment. With inflation at zero is there any complaint from those that choose themselves to invest in cash?

  36. William Gruff
    Posted March 25, 2015 at 2:27 am | Permalink

    More gerrymandering.

  37. a-tracy
    Posted March 25, 2015 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    John, the problem isn’t for the renters today it is the renters of the next generation, like the people I work with who are renting ex-council houses for £700 per month plus council tax, when they were social houses it was and is still much cheaper to rent inc rates, but even with three children (two from a previous relationship where the father isnt supporting his children) and another child on the way and having been on the list for years on end the family can’t get out of this tiny three bed private rental into housing association because there are none left. People complain about the bedroom subsidy but if the families have grown up and left there should be social housing property for them to downsize into because social housing should be based on need.

    • a-tracy
      Posted March 25, 2015 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      To put this private rental – social rental in perspective. Private rental £695 PCM x 12 months plus £1000 pa council tax, social rental £95pw + £25 pw council tax for 11 months.
      Who is getting social rentals, we should know. Our children can’t get them if they move for work, the only people I know getting social rentals recently are kids that claim their parents have thrown them out, single parent mothers whose boyfriends stay a few nights per week but live officially with parents. Can we see in our local council transparency how many families, couples with children are allocated social housing? How many of those come from living with parents in social housing who overcrowd?

      • Ted Monbiot
        Posted March 27, 2015 at 9:21 am | Permalink

        Even better… those in social housing will soon be able to sub let and make a profit from their multiple occupation.

  38. zorro
    Posted March 26, 2015 at 1:26 am | Permalink

    No more bribes like this as this is unfair on those who have paid rent in the private sector. Let them buy a portion at market price (shared ownership) if they can afford it. They can be responsible for the upkeep and maintenance then like other shared owners.

    zorro

  • 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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