The Housing Bill

The new Housing Bill marks an important change in housing policy. It starts from the realisation that home ownership has been falling in the UK since 2003, though home ownership is still the preferred form of tenure for 86% of the public. 23% of the public rent but would like to own. 48% of 25-34 year olds now rent, compared to just 21% ten years ago. They do so because many of them cannot afford a home to buy.
The Bill requires planning authorities to make provision in new developments for affordable homes for sale. These are the promised properties offered to first time buyers under the age of 40 at a 20% discount to the market price. It also enshrines the right to buy from social landlords in law, and allows the government to compensate those social landlords for the discount on market value of the property they will suffer from a tenant’s purchase. Social housing providers will be expected to build another property for every one they sell, adding to the total stock as a result.
The Bill encourages social landlords to sell high value subsidised properties when they become vacant. Money from such sales can be used by the public sector to build more homes out of the proceeds of high value property. It also tells Councils to make sufficient planning permissions available to meet the demand for self build and custom housebuilding.
The Bill toughens the law about rogue landlords to assist tenants, introducing a database of such people and legislating for a banning regime for people who have committed offences and are deemed unsuitable to act as landlords in future. Social landlords will also be required to collect a market rent from high income tenants.
The Bill also includes a number of changes to the planning system. This is designed to speed up responses to applications, to make it easier for Councils to establish and amend local plans, and to allow housing to be added to a national infrastructure project. Comments on the Bill would be appreciated.
The Bill also revokes Sections 225 and 226 of Labour’s 2004 Housing Act. These clauses required Councils to assess the needs of gypsies and travellers and prepare strategies to meet their needs. In future the Council will have a duty to consider the needs of all people, without separate specification of the needs of travellers and gypsies.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

123 Comments

  1. Posted October 21, 2015 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    As a Self Builder of four houses that I have moved into, I would point out the only way SB s can get a plot to build on is to treat SBs the same as Housing Associations as they are the only people who can get planning permission outside the building areas on the edge of villages and towns, if not you leave it to big builders.

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      Big builders usually building tiny, packed in housed with tiny rooms, tiny gardens, using small windows and without any potential for later enlargement. Usually in the wrong places too due to daft planning rules.

      • Posted October 21, 2015 at 8:34 am | Permalink

        Indeed. The room sizes in modern houses are tiny.

        • Posted October 21, 2015 at 10:58 am | Permalink

          that’s government manipulation through planning mainly though, not really the builders fault

          • Posted October 21, 2015 at 11:32 am | Permalink

            Indeed the planner are largely to blameby encouraging the packing in of flats and houses. Often when the free range pigs in the farmers fields nearby get more space and need no planning consent for their houses.

        • Posted October 21, 2015 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

          In inverse proportion to the enormous size of modern furniture. Never understood that. Some of it goes in through the windows which are taken out.

        • Posted October 21, 2015 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

          I am always amazed by the entrance halls where you shoulders rub both walls with your shoulders, knocking pictures off or coats off hooks as you go and you cannot pass anyone without embracing them. Also the “double” bedrooms without room to walk round the bed, nor even room to fit a chest of drawers.

        • Posted October 21, 2015 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

          But isn’t that what you need, as a youngster taking that first step onto the housing ladder? Because that’s all you can afford until you become more established and secure in your chosen career.

          • Posted October 21, 2015 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

            No because the costs of moving are so high (with stamp duty. agents fees legals cost etc.) Usually best to buy something you can keep for some time and expand later if needed.

            Buying something you will have to move out of very soon is not usually sensible.

      • Posted October 21, 2015 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        And no parking so they park on the roads so most of the emissions in our towns is caused by stupid parking on bye directional roads causing drivers to have to stop start weaving in and out of cars. A year or so ago I narrowly missed a young mother who was forced off the pavement by the cars that were parked on it whilst pushing her twins Buggy.

        • Posted October 21, 2015 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

          Indeed no parking (or parking for one car) and absurdly narrow access roads.

          • Posted October 22, 2015 at 6:54 am | Permalink

            Same on industrial estates where planners refuse to allow sufficient parking spaces on site for staff who then are forced to park on the approach roads.
            It is deliberate and part of the CO2 nonsense.
            They say we must walk or cycle or catch the bus which is unreliable and stops a mile or more away.

            However when I recently visited the planners offices they had plenty of spaces for their staff.

  2. Posted October 21, 2015 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Glad to see this being raised as a blogpost.
    Unless I missed it- I couldn’t see an impact assessment of the policy. A 20% discount sounds very expensive for the government if it is making up the shortfall. At best this policy is a stop-gap- government needs to try to address the route causes.

    I agree that we need to encourage local government/public sector to build more houses. I hope that money raised from sales is not diverted into other areas of the budget.

    Localism is very fashionable these days in all parties. But there is a tension between it and getting more homes built.

    Reply The discount is instead of demanding a Community Infrastructure levy payment from the developer.

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      And the government must top up the community infrastructure levy (or forgo infrastructure ) therefore the taxpayer is supporting the discount.

      • Posted October 21, 2015 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

        John the Council has always had these promised payments but the question that should be asked is why the builders have a time out after say five years where they no longer have to pay the Council and why time and and time again the council does not start a project before the clauses end.

      • Posted October 22, 2015 at 1:52 am | Permalink

        Someone should devise a game called ‘hide the subsidy’, for civil servant training.

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      Is there a provision to stop the purchaser of the discounted property selling it on within a few months at the market price?

      • Posted October 21, 2015 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        CdBrux good question, there should be the 20% discount repayment from profits at a sensible rate.

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply
      So the Council has to pay the discount AND build fresh infrastructure? Sounds expensive to me. Still I guess they can always shoot up Business rates, so nobody has a job but everybody has a house. Socialist Utopia.

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      According to JR’s reply, the expectation is that buyers of the other new homes will subsidise the “affordable” homes by paying a premium price. Does that make any kind of sense to a house purchaser, unless they too get the cost of providing the subsidy refunded?

      It is surely no surprise that already the BTL sector accounts for 56% of new homes according to their own figures (with Housing Associations accounting for a further 25%), as they can get the necessary subsidy through housing benefits as a contribution to rents.

      • Posted October 21, 2015 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        ” buyers of the other new homes will subsidise the “affordable” homes by paying a premium price. Does that make any kind of sense to a house purchaser, unless they too get the cost of providing the subsidy refunded?”

        You can just see them in the Treasury -“agh hadn’t thought of that, erm let’s reduce stamp duty for buyers of these houses over 40, or let them pay the mortgage out of their pension tax-free”, or something else horrendously complicated…

        • Posted October 21, 2015 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

          Indeed the affordable homes requirement on developers is just another tax on other home buyers.

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      So the levy being waved by Government means that there will be no infrastructure such as schools, hospitals or Doctor surgeries to go with their mass migration from Eastern Europe and elsewhere?

  3. Posted October 21, 2015 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    On the whole it seems to make sense. Just on one aspect, several council-owned houses in my area have a market vales of over £1 million, even up to £2-3 million, it makes sense for the council to sell these and use the money to build a larger number of cheaper houses (although they refuse to do this for ideological reasons). A separate issue is the amount of land owned by councils and bodies such as TfL which could be released for house building but either isn’t or is held up in endless planning enquiries etc. and that needs to be addressed.

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      Indeed force the councils to sell off these expensive houses and build rather more cheap ones, move the tenants to cheaper ones or charge market rents and they will move anyway.

      • Posted October 21, 2015 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        No, that’s far too sensible.

  4. Posted October 21, 2015 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    The main problems are over restrictive planning, over the top and expensive(& full of greencrap) building regulations, over expensive utility connections, absurdly high stamp duty, and over restrictive employment laws. All of these push up the cost of building and restrict the supply.

    In addition we now have over restrictive bank mortgage/development lending due to poorly structured lending regulations and slotting rules.

    On rented properties Osborne has foolishly prevented landlords from deducting legitimate interest for tax purposes and other deductions. Thus making rented property even more expensive for tenants and restricting supply. Also they are taxing long term gains at absurdly high CGT rates without any indexation.

    As usual the government is the problem not the solution.

    Relaxation of planning is by far the most important thing.

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      Completely agree. The cost of the actual building work is a fraction of the purchase cost. The rest is the land cost which is artificially inflated by the scarce planning permission.
      The land owners who get planning permission while it is so scarce gain an enormous windfall at everyone else’s expense. The current developments around Arborfield being a local example.

  5. Posted October 21, 2015 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    When council houses were sold off last time they weren’t replaced like-for-like. As with the privatisations it was a way of raising funds for other things.

    Social housing monies must be ring-fenced for building new houses and used for nothing else.

    As ever the real issue is mass immigration. We simply cannot house people to the same standard as previous generations were used to at these rates.

    Why no proviso that these houses can only be bought by people under forty and born in England ?

    Reply The original Council house sale did let the Council spend the money on building a new home, unless there was debt which needed to be repaid.

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      It might have let them, but clearly it didn’t happen. Pensions and putting money into Iceland was more important.

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      Council homes were replaced with more of what people wanted – their own homes. Owner occupation increased from 12 million homes in 1980 to 15.5 million in 1990, while council homes only declined from 6.7 million homes to 5.2 million homes over the same period. It is only since the rise of the BTL sector that ownership of our own homes has come under pressure – and much of that occurred during the Labour years in response to deregulation of BTL mortgages.

      • Posted October 21, 2015 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply (JR’s) – Paying down debt is what most privatisations have been about.

        Reply to Mark – Of course people want to buy their council homes. They were being sold to them ridiculously cheaply – especially in London.

        • Posted October 21, 2015 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

          The point I was making is that in addition to buying council homes, there were 2 million owners of new homes – people who did not wish to become council tenants, and who were able to afford their own home. There was no demand to replace council homes sold with more built – demand for subsidised state housing has increased only in more recent times because the effective subsidy is so high while we have a property bubble.

          • Posted October 22, 2015 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

            Let’s not forget millions of extra new people introduced into the country, Mark.

            Of course, we are not allowed to say that this is the chief reason why rents and property prices have gone out of reach.

          • Posted October 23, 2015 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

            In the 1980s net migration was essentially zero. It was little higher in the early 1990s (mainly because we admitted numbers of people from Hong Kong before it was handed back to China). It rose significantly only after Labour came to power in 1997, and they abandoned sensible immigration controls and rules. However, the rate of growth of the housing stock remained faster than that of the population throughout, so we now have the lowest number of people per dwelling on record. The chief reason for property prices and risen to have risen so sharply is the slack regulation of the banking system under Labour, which saw the UK borrow some £800bn abroad to fund mortgages, and the scared attitude of governments to tackling the consequences ever since the credit crunch.

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply:

      That was always my point John. Some predominantly Labour councils had accrued more debt than some countries. Some things never change, and as Mrs. T. said, socialists eventually run out of other people’s money.

      They spent the money received from the sale of council houses on other things, then moaned about it being a bad policy. No mention was ever made by them of their own fecklessness, and blowing money from housing receipts on their pet projects.

      I wish I knew where their magic money tree was! Fiscal responsibility has never been their strong point.

      Tad

      • Posted October 22, 2015 at 5:49 am | Permalink

        Did the electricity privatisation go towards building new power stations ? The water privatisations to building new reservoirs ?

        Seems not, Tad.

        Privatisations are not about invigorating the economy but raiding the family silver to pay down debt. This applies to council housing too.

        • Posted October 22, 2015 at 10:35 am | Permalink

          Interesting points but I do recall that in the case of water privatisation, it was said to have been ‘needed’ so that investment could be made in the leaky infrastructure that was literally falling apart.

          Tad

  6. Posted October 21, 2015 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    I have to admit having not read the bill.

    But this is starting to sound all rather complicated, with money passing from one organisation to another, via various schemes, (with a later windfall profit) for those who have had a taxpayer subsidy, for a group who are under 40, or for those those who have purchased rented property from social landlords.

    A simple solution to all of this is to surely rezone land sufficient to build more houses for either rent or purchase, to meet the demand.

    The other solution is to restrict some of the demand by stopping/reducing immigration.

    If you are not careful with the plan proposed, you may end up not being able to afford the housing subsidy for long because of so much demand, a bit like the Working Tax Credits nonesense.

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      Indeed, it all sounds contrived. We throw money at students at 16-22 much of it needlessly, try to claw it back at 22+ through student loan repayments, try Help to Buy so they can buy a house. That pushes prices up so we have to give them a discount if they still can’t buy. When the pre-discount prices go up because of the discount, what do we do next?

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      Alan Jutson ,

      The 20% taxpayer subsidy will just cause house prices to rise accordingly which I suspect is the real rationale behind it .

      Agree with you that the govt needs to sort out the supply of land and restrict the demand .

      Also shift the burden of taxation from labour which is currently taxed unfavourably on to land which is taxed very favourably .

      This would ensure that people pay for the privilege of land banking , ransom strips , under occupation , inefficient use of land which inconveniences society as a whole .

      Consider an oligarch’s buying a £30m houses in London so their daughter can live there 2 weeks a year (i.e. money laundering) . If the land component itself was valued at £25m and they had to pay a location value charge of 4% , i.e. £1m they would hardly notice it but the proceeds could built 6 houses for plebs every year .

  7. Posted October 21, 2015 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Don’t agree with the discrimination against the over 40’s at all.

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      Endorsed, Iain Gill.

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      Agree. That’s arbitrary age discrimination driven by politics. Typical Osborne – politically clever but lazy and with no guiding principle.

      • Posted October 21, 2015 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

        Its not politically clever cos it will just cheese off everyone over 40 who wants to buy, or any of their friends and relatives.

      • Posted October 21, 2015 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        Osborne has a reputation for being “politically clever” but he is not in the slightest. In the long term his tax until the pips squeak, borrow and piss down the drain just will not work. It will just destroy jobs and damage growth.

        Tricks like presenting a new mandatory higher minimum wage as a gift from government when it is in fact just another huge tax grab and job destroyer. Few are fooled, the companies will have no more money to pay in wages so profits, investment and the higher wage earners will all clearly suffer.

        What on earth is politically clever about taking £1600 PA off some people working full time on the minimum wage? It sound even less politically acceptable than the poll tax.

        Politically clever would be cutting the bloated, hugely misdirected and largely incompetent state sector, cutting taxes, cutting regulation, sorting out the absurd NHS and growing the tax base.

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      DO agree with discrimination against people who weren’t born here (race irrelevant.)

      It is a government’s duty to look after its own people.

      The real problem has been mass immigration.

      All other issues were forseen and a housing crisis was not among them.

      In fact we were told the problem was a declining population when they first advocated opening the borders “We don’t have enough young. Who’s going to pay the pensions ?” was the justification.

      This all has the air of panic with rabbit hutch estates tacked on to proper towns with no addition to infrastructure and no extra jobs.

      etc ed

  8. Posted October 21, 2015 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Most people outside the Westminster village , on hearing them talk about a housing shortage, know exactly where the problem lies.

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      Its pointless even mentioning it again everybody knows what you mean. Residents of Bristol saw the police lose control of a riot last Saturday afternoon on College Green and Millennium Square. You can guess what the cause was. Its hardly surprising though as Dave has ensured that there are 10,000 fewer coppers than they were when he became PM. Further details on the “Bristol Post” website if you are interested.

      • Posted October 21, 2015 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

        It’s the same here in Cambridge Mrs. RW, far too few policemen to cope, something that one former Chief Constable, Julie Spence, famously warned about some years ago. The massive influx of migrants into the area, and the subsequent increase in the local population hasn’t been matched with an increase in police numbers or resources.

        In my experience, fewer people are bothering to report crime these days, so little wonder the crime figures look as if they are diminishing. That just cannot be right, as it is the agreed precept that the first duty of any government is to protect it’s citizens. This government is failing, and that will inevitably result in more sink estates and places where decent people won’t want to live, no matter how cheap the property might be. Just look at some of the properties in the North East to see my point.

        Tad

  9. Posted October 21, 2015 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Selling social housing off cheap is not only giving away tax payer assets to the lucky few but also encourages profit taking.

    I agree with the sentiment of turning over the housing stock but find your government’s ham fisted approach lacking.

    The purchase price should be determined by the replacement cuts of two similar dwellings. This will turn the stock, increase the stock and still represent a discount.

    Further houses sold at a discount should have conditions written into the deeds.

    1. In future the property can only be sold on to someone who qualifies for social housing.

    2. The future sale price(s) must represent the same discount against market prices that the original purchaser benefited from. This entrenched the benefit to society in the future while preventing profit taking but allowing the purchase to realise proportionate investment growth (or loss).

    The above to be policed by a department within local government funded by stamp duty but costs limited to £100 per enquiry.

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      Replacement costs not cuts – apologies

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Restricting markets is never a good solution to problems. Whilst I understand your sentiments, the real answer is not to create tranches of subsidised homes available only by allocation to favoured demographics and subject to quota in the first place.

      • Posted October 21, 2015 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        The housing market is distorted and necessarily protected by government to avoid collapse with the knock on effects for the rest of the economy.

        Splitting the market may prevent further excessive and unsustainable rises in the affluent sector and may over time bring it back to realistic pricing. The less affluent sector can have its own rebooted but affordable market. Eventually both markets may converge.

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      This bill shows the usual lack of understanding and incompetence of the ministers.The figures do not add up and the aims are to enrich a few lucky buyers and tenants of housing society properties at great expense, while not providing anything like the number of dwellings to satisfy demand. The numbers will not even match the increase in population.

      It pretends to use money from sales of expensive properties to build more new homes, without recognising this as a subsidy. The houses could just as well be sold, or land be given planning permission and sold, on the open market. Then the money could be used to build housing anywhere or to pay off the national debt. These government assets are worth what the market price is and giving land or buildings free to a project is a subsidy, just as much as using taxed money.

      As to ‘rogue landlords’, they have jumped on this bandwagon without realising that councils are likely to designate landlords who have properties damaged by tenants as ‘rogues’. The rate of delapidation in the UK makes many properties unfit at times, usually caused by misuse such as drying clothes on radiators with windows shut, lack of cleaning or tampering with fire alarms and door closers. If a landlord is banned from letting he or she will have to sell and probably pay a huge amount of CGT. Perhaps this is what they are hoping will happen.

      Thankfully, I didn’t vote for these fools.

      • Posted October 21, 2015 at 10:20 am | Permalink

        Off subject, you are wise to avoid the subject of tax credits. the debate was another entertaining event and contained a remarkable maiden speech by a new young lady MP called Heidi. I hope someone puts it on the U tube. A belting speech from a belter. Mr Slippery would do well to find her a job inside the tent, doing whatever ladies do, rather than outside doing repeat performances.

        There was also an interesting speech by Mr Hussein the Mp for Bradford east. He complained that the measures were racist, because his constituents had tax credits for children 5 times as high as the natives and would be plunged into poverty. This confirms information a friend with relations in Bradford told me while Gordon was busy being nice to potential voters. They told him they had never been better off. Not many Tory votes lost there then.

        Reply Heidi Allen voted against the Labour motion and for the Conservative changes to tax credits

        • Posted October 21, 2015 at 11:21 am | Permalink

          Tax credits do not work. I remember at one point you were even entitled to some if you were earning around £50k p.a.! For the people who they are intended to help, I remember colleagues found them so hard to understand they stopped claiming them. This being that if they did a bit of overtime or were awarded a bonus they would often have to hand some money back to the HMRC.

          • Posted October 21, 2015 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

            Rita – It has the unintended consequence that a person on 50k pays an effective tax of 60% if they earn over that amount.

            Bear in mind that there are welfare recipients on 55k net benefits – so while 50k is good it does not make the earner rich by any means.

            The tax credits are a form of communism. They work to make people equal regardless of effort, skill and responsibility.

          • Posted October 21, 2015 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

            The real reason for the design of Labour;s tax credit system was to enable the state to take lots of tax and NI off everyone then give a little back to those with children, child care, high rents and other living costs. This allowed families (just about) to have just enough to live on.

            That way childless people perhaps can be taxed to the hilt while people with children can still just survive. What socialist wants is everyone to be taxed as much as possible while still (just about) leaving then enough to survive.

            To socialists all money is theirs and they will give you a subsistence allowance to live off. Take home will not vary very much be you on benefits or earning £60K.

            Osborne is alas clearly a socialist in essence too. All will be equal regardless of merit. Other than some state sector workers and MPs, MEPs etc.

        • Posted October 21, 2015 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

          stred

          Her speech in full is on Guido Fawkes website.

          Very impressive, both content and delivery

          Reply to Reply

          She explained fully why she was going to vote against Labours amendments.

          Reply. She voted for the tax credit proposals expressing no disagreements when they were put yo the House, then voted down a critical Labour motion this week

          • Posted October 22, 2015 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

            Re Heidi. Just had time to watch it Alan. As well as making brilliant speeches she has managed a family company exporting all over, worked for Exxon and the Royal mail and has a degree in Astrophysics. What a shame she isn’t running the Treasury instead of an almost journalist that didn’t want to sell wallpaper. We might have policies that add up and understand reality.

  10. Posted October 21, 2015 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Mandating affordable homes within new developments is playing to the gallery.

    If a first time buyer can not raise the deposit or afford the mortgage at full price a 20% discount is in reality unlikely to bring ownership much closer. The damage caused by demand, supply and created money within the prices demanded is entrenched and even at 20% discount prices will remain above the means of first time buyers.

    Several billion spent building social homes to rent will save money on housing benefit in the long run and would be better policy, they can be flogged off cheap later to pay for more building. For most homes are to live in not an investment.

  11. Posted October 21, 2015 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    “The new Housing Bill …starts from the realisation that home ownership has been falling in the UK since 2003, though home ownership is still the preferred form of tenure for 86% of the public.”
    That’s 12 years – and the cabinet rank politicians are not out of touch with the general public?
    The problems have been obvious for more than a decade – as anyone who has or knows anyone with young adults in their family with limited incomes knows.
    So are the solutions: build more houses (and flats to deal with marriage breakup, and older people living longer who can no longer deal with a larger house and garden – and I don’t mean tower blocks but perhaps sensitive conversions of redundant buildings) Also revise planning laws to clear brownfield sites, give more priority to local people who have been on the housing list for long periods.
    Treat the whole problem as a national emergency. Eg scrap HS2 and use the £40 or £80 billion and the workforce to build houses. At £100,000 each that’s 400 to 800,000 new homes.. in addition to what the private sector might provide. Of course with 300,000 net immigrants each year that’s not enough, is it?

    Reply We have only had a Conservative government since May. Labour and Lib Dems do not share our concern to help people buy a home.

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Looking at the statistics the number of single person households has actually been falling in recent years. It seems that the demographers didn’t make very good projections, but the public has not been informed of the change in trend. Meanwhile politicians and planners insist on demanding that new building fulfill some idea of shoe box “affordable” homes, which don’t seem to be in much real demand from first time buyers – I estimated from the available data that 90% of their purchases are of second hand homes, while it is the BTL sector that dominates newbuild purchase.

      • Posted October 22, 2015 at 2:07 am | Permalink

        Housing benefit for under 25s (?) was stopped some years ago for single persons flats. They were only given single room allowance and had to move to shared houses.

        • Posted October 23, 2015 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

          Shock horror. I had a shared room in a hostel when I first started work, and shared a house after that. Only when I had no other choice did I buy my first home – a small semi bungalow in Northern Ireland where I was posted, where rental homes were not an option – which was fearsomely expensive because the mortgage was limited to £15,000 and still charged 15.5%, with the need to borrow additional sums on a four year loan at 20%: adding insult to injury was the fact that I could only resell it for what I paid when I left, meanwhile prices in England had leapt ahead. Never any housing benefit.

  12. Posted October 21, 2015 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Thanks for raising this issue. In London it seems very unfair that people who don’t work get housing which people who do work can’t afford.
    As there is a shortage of housing we should say that if anyone who does not work and has their rent paid should have to leave London after 1 year.
    It should also be much easier to get planning permission to change empty shops to housing.
    The problem with this idea
    “Social landlords will also be required to collect a market rent from high income tenants.”
    Is that if you are self employed and are near the threshold it could be more lucrative to take a months holiday in March.

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      The London Evening Standard is running a campaign about inequalities on some of the London housing estates such as the Angell estate – its high crime and youth problems.

      Am I the only one to feel cold about this issue ?

      Here we have people living free in a zone 2 London area that workers would kill for. They are living in the most vibrant and diverse city in the world with all the work opportunities and leasure activities that London offers. People of all races fight to get to it because of the job opportunities. Yet the Angell residents state that it is because they are discriminated against and because there is nothing for their kids to do.

      • Posted October 22, 2015 at 7:25 am | Permalink

        @ Anonymous
        “Here we have people living free in a zone 2 London area that workers would kill for. They are living in the most vibrant and diverse city in the world with all the work opportunities and leasure activities that London offers. People of all races fight to get to it because of the job opportunities. Yet the Angell residents state that it is because they are discriminated against and because there is nothing for their kids to do.”
        I agree 100% their kids can travel on the tube for free and go to many sites in London for free

    • Posted October 23, 2015 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      Obviously there needs to be a taper, not a single income level for rent subsidies.

  13. Posted October 21, 2015 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Another scheme to encourage house building all over England. Concreting over my country to house the rest of the world………………..

  14. Posted October 21, 2015 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Why don’t you change the awful Shorthold Tenancy legislation? It is appalling that tenants have to live under the threat of eviction once every 6 months. I appreciate it is different for, say, people who move abroad to work for a year and want to let their house out while they are away …. but for the army of buy to let landlords getting other people to pay their mortgages for them, the legislation should be changed so that tenants have long term security of tenure – and the right to stick up a few pictures and paint the walls a different colour.

    After all, for people who have to be tenants as opposed to buying their own home, the place they live is their home – even if it is part of someone else’s ‘portfolio’.

    • Posted October 22, 2015 at 2:15 am | Permalink

      Normally, landlords would much rather have good tenants who stay as long as possible. Providing colours would be acceptable to a new tenant and the work is done well, they also usually agree to repainting. Unfortunately a lot of tenants redecorate without agreement and use ‘unusual’ colours.

      Landlords sometimes need to get their properties back in a hurry, for example if tax changes lead to losses, or after probate and having to pay IHT quickly to the IR.

      • Posted October 23, 2015 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        Landlords “needing to get their property back in a hurry” is clearly a problem that should be addressed. Moving is expensive for tenants, and it is not unreasonable for them to want better security of tenure than the ASTs offer, with their many grounds for termination. A more restricted set of grounds for termination by landlords ought to be agreeable in many cases.

  15. Posted October 21, 2015 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood – my son, in his late 20s, earning well over twice the alleged average salary, has no chance of owning his own home. Most of his peers are in a similar (or much worse (they don’t earn much)) position. I have suggested to them that a bunch of them should get together and self build.

    Is there any legislation compelling councils to make land available to groups of self builders? (I have a vague recollection of hearing something of that sort.)

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      Come and work in the Midlands.
      Lots of properties under £100k for sale.
      Teachers nurses engineers etc still get paid decent salaries.

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      Have a word with your local planning department, Mike. Just recently I have found mine very helpful for small developments. They seem to quite like new houses as they get more Council Tax for providing not much. It seems to be the big boys they are having trouble with and ours are currently swamped with planning applications which they have no hope of clearing within the guidelines and anyway, the Inspectorate seem to mostly overrule them if they refuse.

  16. Posted October 21, 2015 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Can the honourable member enumerate what legislation the govt proposes to protect decent landlords from rogue tenants.

    It takes about 7 months to obtain an eviction of a problem tenant with little prospect of recovering rent, repair costs and court fees.

    Tenants often pocket their housing benefits and deliberately seek eviction as it gives them priority for social housing, and the local authorities advise them how to game the system to their advantage.

    At the very least, housing benefit should be paid directly to the landlord.

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Housing benefit used to be paid to the landlord but I think it was liebor who said it was demeaning. I had no trouble in all the years I rented property out but I’m glad I’m out of the market now.
      I bet 80% of new builds will go to foreigners with a taxpayer subsidy. No other country would be so stupid.
      I see it looks like there could be a coup against Angela as the peasants are getting restless. Not that you would know from the BBC.

      • Posted October 21, 2015 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

        ” the peasants are getting restless. Not that you would know from the BBC.”

        @Mr Redwood > How does the BBC get away with this bias by omission when the Royal Charter calls for them to inform, educate and entertain?

        They are omitting news that would undermine the EU (from whom they receive funding); is there no mechansim to bring them to book for their obvious selective reporting of news?

  17. Posted October 21, 2015 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Well the bit about speeding up planning in Para 5 is fine, although I’d have thought that the fact that the Council will receive more Council tax on additional properties should be incentive enough. You haven’t said anything about infrastructure though- schools doctors etc.
    Paras 2-4 seem like something out of a Labour sponsored bill – but then you’ve manipulated prices up with tax monay through Help to Buy and throwing money at banks, so I guess you have to manipulate them down with taxpayers’ money too. Quite mad.

  18. Posted October 21, 2015 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Property ownership has been the best investment anyone could make for many many years ; it is understandable why every family would rather own rather than rent . Buying property at a discount has many potential flaws so , unless the restrictions are in place that ” Narrow Shoulders ” refers to , it will create a new band of opportunists . I would rather see a deal put in place between Government and Developers ; such a deal would be easier to control and reflect current market conditions .

  19. Posted October 21, 2015 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    John, like with things such as ‘living wage’ and so on, ‘affordable housing’ seems quite an abstract term. Are so-called ‘affordable homes’ going to be linked to national average incomes, local average incomes, or something else?

  20. Posted October 21, 2015 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Yet more interference in the market, we just get more of this sort of thing from your government and party. It won’t be long before we have more Socialism, rent controls.

  21. Posted October 21, 2015 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    In the village next door to mine, a developer bought a small, pretty timber-framed, tile hung cottage, Grade II listed at least 250 years old with a large garden. He got planning permission to build 3 new houses in the garden (none of them ‘affordable’). The cottage itself he surrounded with hoarding and has left it untouched for over two years. An upstairs window is open and tiles are begging to come off.(Is he ed) waiting for it to become irreparable so that he can get permission to knock it down and build a new house. I’m sure that this is because it would be cheaper and more profitable for him to do so.
    One reason, of course, is the ludicrous charge of 20% VAT on repairs, but no VAT charge whatsoever on new builds.
    Activities such as this must be going on all over the country; houses that are badly needed are left empty and repairs left undone.

  22. Posted October 21, 2015 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    The main problem, apart from the government’s abject failure to make any attempt whatsoever to control immigration under various guises from the third world outside the EU, is that first time buyers are having to compete with buy-to-letters, who often have better access to funds, for suitable first time buyer dwellings, which is inflating the market at the lower end and hence higher up as well. Furthermore, the rogues’ rosta is a typical Tory gimmick making no attempt to redress the balance between landlord and tenant by giving good tenants far better security of tenure.

    Once again the government is attempting to use public funds for buying votes, the consequence of which last time has been that some lucky tenants have obtained huge windfalls and whilst many erstwhile purpose built social housing estates are now a mixture of social housing and buy-to-let.

    There is an important role for social housing; there is an important role for renting for those who may be away from home for the first time either for work or study; there should be a role for serious landlords to build new accommodation, but the economy does not need people to borrow money from banks to fund their ‘pensions’.

    Once again the government has failed to perform a proper analysis of the problem thus their solution is complex taxpayer fund wasting rubbish.

  23. Posted October 21, 2015 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    The problem is that with immigration at upwards of 300,000 net we need to build the equivalent of a Cardiff sized city every year just to tread water without improving the situation one iota.
    This is at the heart of the problem and until this figure is reduced to a “no ifs – no buts” properly managed level nothing will change

  24. Posted October 21, 2015 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    How will a Social Landlord know if a tenant is a high earner?.

    By poking its nose into personal affairs. It is relatively low-paid staff who may be living right next door to the tenant in a private house on the same tight-knit community estate asking or demanding bank statements (private ), pensions ( private ) , wages (private) salaries (private ) investments (private)?

    One could understand it if the tenant is applying for welfare benefits? But a Council House tenant or Social Housing tenant who applied for a tenancy and paid full rent from the start did not in fact apply for a means tested benefit. It was the Social Landlord who dictated from the start what FULL RENT meant. Now government wishes to change the meaning and evaluation of FULL RENT …after…decades after …the landlord has signed the tenancy agreement and the rent payable which he himself dictated was the appropriate and reasonable level of rent.The tenant had no say whatsoever.

    Before Right to Buy, such tenants from a socially acceptable utterly prejudiced UK society were often deemed low class, spongers or as some Americans call Trailer Park Trash or “White Trash” or at any rate as people who were stupid as they did not use their rent money to take out a mortgage and buy themselves a house. They laughed and gurned. They said ” You are wasting your money, throwing it away on rent. “You are so stupid as to leave your children when you die not with a nest-egg of a house but nothing” “It’s cheaper to pay off a mortgage than pay rent”
    Very well. Irrespective of the machinations of today’s economic analysis, long-term social housing renters have through their rents paid for the cost of their homes “many times over”. So it is churlish and wrong that anyone should now talk of the “market value” of a “socially owned house”. Or talk of the “market-value rent”. . Wrong to pull a fish out of its watery environment leaving it gasping on the river bank and proclaim “Look, it is not a viable creature, it can’t breathe! ”
    If long-term Social Housing tenants are now to have to pay the FULL RENT determined by today’s market value then compensation should be paid to them in the tens of thousands of pounds for each and every year when politicians, economic and financial advisors, newspaper columnists shouted and hooted that “Buying a home is very much cheaper than renting. The monthly payments are less. The total paid is less over the years. And, at the end of the day, the home can be sold for tens of thousands of pounds.”
    So, tens of thousands of pounds compensation should be paid to long-term social and council tenants who have cared for the properties and therefore increased and sustained “its market value ” over the years, who have paid over monies “far in excess ” of the value of the house.
    It is question of fairness. Fairness over the last 30-40 years. Not just the “fairness” as judged by today’s housing bubble market value”. Also personal privacy….more important.

    Of course, the government’s desire to enslave young people with a mortgage when they cannot know future population levels, work availability, housing availability, interest rates and in fact which particular kind and hue of government may be in power after the Tory Party is absolutely irresponsible and unworthy.

    Redcar. Was it clever or stupid to rent or buy? On what basis will Social Housing rent be deemed FULL RENT today, next week, next year in Redcar? Will the Tory Party compensate Redcar homeowners in leading them into negative equity and possible repossession of their homes even though they are employed in jobs completely different and unconnected to the Steel Industry? Why not? Mr Sajid Jarvid was aware of the cyclical nature of the Steel Industry. Aware of the Redcar housing market.

  25. Posted October 21, 2015 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Looking at the recent debate on this e-petition:

    “Stop allowing immigrants into the UK” (was started on 25 August 2015)

    The Resolution was along the lines of: (and a lot of useless lines preceded it)
    “a better way to manage migration – and also to take the population of the country with us on the journey, and turn around the ocean liner”.

    Housing remains doomed with an empty conclusion and ocean liners. The e-petition caused debate that had no result and that heavily impacts on the basics of living. Absolutely dire. Lewes = London by Sea. LOL (not really)

    Today we have 4 boats invading RAF Akrotiri..just a nav error I’m sure, sort of?

  26. Posted October 21, 2015 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    I have met hundreds in their own homes some soon to be repossessed. All people heavily in debt. Of all classes, education,IQs, work-skill levels, business acumen. Throughout the North and Midlands of England right down to northern suburbs of London.

    Buying a property outright with cleared unborrowed funds has a certain merit . But only sometimes. Only if you are lucky and continue to be lucky. And especially lucky when you might wish or need to sell it.

    Otherwise, in an uncertain future for the UK as a whole. An unstable present and what looks like an unstable future. With cyclical economic downturns as admitted by Mr Osborne very recently. In the general economy. In specific industries. In specific businesses: it is a gambler; a casino wallah; a horse-race punter who hammers and nails his feet and wallet to the ground where he breakfasts,suppers and sleeps. To “own” his “own” home.

  27. Posted October 21, 2015 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    It is disappointing (but not in the least surprising) that a Conservative government addresses a market failure by introducing fiddly rules, rather than looking at the underlying cause.

    As to the general level of house prices, the government could address this by eliminating planning restrictions that prevent houses being built in the volumes and locations needed. This would mean expanding major towns and cities, not building “garden cities” in the middle of nowhere. In other words, a sensible approach to the Green Belt. And perhaps some thought might be given to the effect of energy prices on brick manufacture. Not to mention the training of bricklayers.

    On the question of affordable housing, even a Conservative government should grasp the nettle that what this really means is social housing. It is far from clear that a 20% discount will make a home “affordable” in the current market. Instead of putting planning restrictions on private builders in the vain hope that this will create a supply of social housing, the government should accept that social housing needs to be built by government. Social housing is not just about price. Something that the recent issue about the bedroom tax showed was that if social tenants may not be subsidised for more space than they need, then there is a shortage of one bedroom apartments which will not be met by the market.

    Finally, a minor point – the age limitation of 40, and to first time buyers. What genius thought of that? How will it work? With a joint purchase, must both purchasers be under 40? Must they both be first time buyers? Would the first time buyer requirement exclude someone who owned a house a few years ago, which they lost because the couldn’t keep up the mortgage payments? The problem with rules like this is that they don’t make much difference in the real world, but they keep employed teams of civil servants writing the detailed rules.

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Clearly the answer for us oldies is to find an under 40 refugee, buy jointly with them, give them back their fare here in return for the deposit they “stumped-up” and re-take ownership of their share of the house.

  28. Posted October 21, 2015 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    BBC News showed the usual amateur coverage of the go ahead for the Nuke at Hinkley today. No mention whatsoever of the alternative possibilities, such as a the one the Finns have just signed up to, with costs at 40% of ours including clean up and finance, ie. on an equal basis. The opposition wheeled on was a bloke who thought the alternative was windmills and solar panels, which would help charge his phone. Who better to argue against.

    But then the Finns have decided on using a western standard Russian design, described as ‘well tested’, just as the German engineers were going to use. The Finns have experienced a delays and huge cost increases with the Hinkley type and have the sense not to order another. Even the French have decided to redesign their next one.

    But then we can’t have Russian designs when that nasty Mr Putin is being so horrible to the BBC/Guardian/Notting Hill set. Much better to persuade the Chinese liberals to build it for 60% more and bung in inflation increases too. No wonder he looked so pleased when having his dinner.

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      George Osborne seems to hitch up his skirt at the first sighting of a delegation from China .

      Absolutely no concept of playing hard to get .

  29. Posted October 21, 2015 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    The best it of the bill is the proposal to make social landlords charge a full market rent to those on high incomes. I have no objection in principle to well paid union officials and Labour MPs choosing to live in a Council property – so long as they pay a full market rent. Indeed, we really should go further, and rather than merely encouraging the sale of high value “state” property, make all Council and HA homes available on an open rental market, with rent subsidies only paid where justified, and in full competition with the BTL sector.

    The state is continuing to dictate what is built rather than leaving it to the market. Moreover, it is seeking to impose that by ignoring local objections to planning. This is quite Soviet. They should instead be considering Elinor Ostrom’s work which established the following set of principles:
    1.Define clear boundaries.
    2. Match rules governing planning to local needs and conditions.
    3. Ensure that those affected by the rules can participate in modifying the rules.
    4. Make sure the rule-making rights of community members are respected by outside authorities.
    5. Develop a system, carried out by community members, for monitoring members’ behavior.
    6. Use graduated sanctions for rule violators.
    7. Provide accessible, low-cost means for dispute resolution.
    8. Build responsibility for governing the common resource in nested tiers from the lowest level up to the entire interconnected system.

    There is no attempt to tackle growing BTL tenure, which is the real source of the shortage of homes for first time buyers: restricting BTL mortgage lending and reducing CGT on disposal to owner occupiers would achieve this, and add very substantially to the supply of homes for other purchasers.

    The bill continues to find ways to spend taxpayer subsidies on favoured purchasers, which is precisely the wrong approach to solving problems. Want a cheap property? Become an HA tenant. Result: big demand to become an HA tenant to qualify. The subsidies on newbuilds look to create distortions to the market, not solve them.

    It’s not clear that the proposal for a register of Rachmanite landlords will do much to solve problems. Landlords need a comfortable margin to afford ongoing maintenance and repair (a very good reason to limit their borrowing capacity), and they need reliable tenants. Tenants need to feel that they are not at risk of being served notice when they ask landlords to fix problems in their property. What perhaps is needed is a low cost resolution service that can act as an intermediary, and advise a complainant when they are being reasonable or unreasonable before escalation to costly and lengthy court proceeding where eviction is pursued, or where tenants are effectively hounded out for daring to expect proper maintenance.

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      The suggestion to reduce CGT on sales of a BTL property to anon BTL buyer is a very good one. This would put a lot of houses back on the market. But it would reduce the number of rented houses available and tend to increase rents, as the numbers of rental customers are still rising with the population.

      The move to charge market rents for social housing, where the tenant’s income is high, is sensible. However, the reason that Mrs T moved to sell council houses was because many were rented at subsidised rents, when the income of tenants had increased, sometimes to more than average incomes. The subsidy moved to the tenant instead with HB. Now the policy has succeeded so well that there are more houses to rent than ever before and it is costing as much or more than building council houses for everybody on low incomes.

      There are huge areas of low quality green belt land such as the scrub land between Dagenham and Havering and the Thames side ex tips near Rainham. These would make thousands of plots for highly desirable homes where people want to live. But they are subject to planning, with flooding and environmental clean up costs. Any attempt to use them would result in accusations of environmental vandalism and risking the health of the unborn etc. The houses will not be built and prices are unlikely to fall enough for anyone in London, who is not very well paid, to buy.

      • Posted October 21, 2015 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

        A thought.The government is doing all it can to get someone else to finance nukes and HS2, as it does not want the borrowing on the books. Is not the private rental sector just doing that, very successfully on the whole?

      • Posted October 21, 2015 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        People who buy a home rather than rent reduce the demand for rental homes.

        • Posted October 22, 2015 at 2:25 am | Permalink

          Rising population= 300k new migrant rental customers pa. So rents unlikely to fall.

          • Posted October 23, 2015 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

            Recent immigrants do not seem to add as much to housing demand as their numbers suggest. That is both because many of them are prepared to live at very high density (see the story below), and because over half of them are actually students , who also live at high density. The problem comes later, after students have graduated and then stay on and form families.

  30. Posted October 21, 2015 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    http://www.lbc.co.uk/four-houses-50-migrants-council-busts-slum-houses-118328

    this news story, tip of the iceberg though it is, rather shows how big the housing problem really is

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      Does it really show the housing problem, or is it an illustration of illegal immigration?

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      When migrants are prepared to live 16 to a 2 up 2 down home they don’t add much to housing demand. Of course, one may ask why they would be prepared to live at such density, and who is prepared to house them so poorly.

      • Posted October 22, 2015 at 2:33 am | Permalink

        They often rent a house with the usual tenancy agreement restricting maximum numbers, then after the gas checks etc the landlord or agent is unable to check on the rooms without reason and notice. The tenants then decide to share with other and halve the rent. This is particularly common in London, where most of the building jobs are and rents are high. My contact speaks E.European and hears the language on the tube. I am told the language indicates that natives ofthe countries they come from would not be particularly pleased if they went home.

        • Posted October 22, 2015 at 2:46 am | Permalink

          The Treasury is keen to allow tenants to sublet, without the landlord’s permission. Quite how anyone with any experience or intelligence could come up with such a stupid idea is difficult to understand.

  31. Posted October 21, 2015 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    The figures you quote for folk wanting to own their own homes is rather biased by the rather rubbish tenancy terms available in this country. In other countries where longer tenancies are available, where tenants can decorate to their taste, or simply put a few posters up, there is no such bias. The large number of small landlords we have and the massive government manipulation of the market are also at the heart of the problem.
    The problems we have in housing are not going to be solved by more government manipulation. The problems are caused by too much manipulation. We often forget how much manipulation is going on so dulled by constant exposure to it we have become, school catchment areas and all the rest of it are massive manipulations. The massive state manipulation of house prices has gone too far, a real way to help people buy is to have house prices at realistic levels not the silly levels we have now.
    The government should concentrate on helping the needy with money to spend in the market as they choose. The government should enforce decent standards on landlords. The government should encourage more big reputable businesses to enter the private rental market. The government should charge market rents for social housing, and get out of owning and running housing, but give the needy extra money to compensate. The government should relax the planning rules to allow more decent sized houses of the kind people actually want. The government should get a grip on immigration to reduce the demand. The government should abolish catchment areas in education and healthcare and let citizens take their business anywhere they want in these areas.

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

      It’s often forgotten that a reason why people are unwilling to invest in owning a home in Germany include falling real house prices as their population has fallen (another is heavy taxation of housing transactions). Perhaps the migration surge will change the market balance, and more will prefer to own for security of tenure rather than being ousted to make way for migrants, as some tenants in Germany are having to cope with.

  32. Posted October 21, 2015 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Legislation against rogue landlords will do nothing, just another displacement activity to make it look as though something is being done. Renters need some form of security of tenure and rent control. I know there are bad tenants as well as bad landlords, but what about the good ones? They should be able to live in security as long as they pay their rent, look after the place properly and don’t sub-let etc. The current system of 6 months on the whim of a landlord is no good.

    My sister lives in s rented house and the rent is increased each year, regardless of, but always above inflation although there is no central heating and the windows were only replaced when they were about to fall out. This year’s demand is for a 5 percent increase, just like that, take it or move out, when inflation is said to be zero and nothing has been spent for several years. She decorates it herself and when visited over the windows, the landlord’s rep remarked on how well it was kept and that she always paid on time. The house is over a hundred years old and probably cost less than a month’s rent to buy, paid for obviously donkeys years ago and is pure profit for the landlord. Is it a rogue landlord? No, it is a national company, so none of these proposed laws (whatever they are) will help. The only help she gets is the single occupier allowance for council tax, a whopping 25 percent. She can’t move as there is nothing else available and has to work even though she is 8 years past retirement age, just to pay the rent. She is living in constant fear that she will one day inevitably be unable to work and will just be turfed out. This is what needs looking at.

    Regarding planning, our incompetent council ‘relaxed the rules’ by the simple expedient of not bothering to do a local development plan. Now all the small villages are plagued with speculative planners and builders putting in plans for houses on any scrap of land whether agricultural or even in areas of special scenic interest and even though the Council are refusing permission, we are being punished by the Inspectorate by being over-ridden because no LDP is in place. They are now running to catch up, but meantime just about any old plan in any old place is being allowed on orders from the government who insist on a ‘presumption in favour’ in these circumstances, even with no extra infrastructure being installed. The countryside will be ruined before long, so be careful what you wish for in relaxing planning.

  33. Posted October 21, 2015 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Maybe George Osborne can persuade the Chinese to build slums here .

    Could be prefabricated in China and assembled over here by Chinese . They’ve got some useful designs if safety is not too important .

    He could even get the UK taxpayer to underwrite it and guarantee the Chinese an above market rate of return for 40 years .

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Osborne is certainly busy taking any choice away from patients in the NHS. Instead of handing buying power to patients where it belongs he is handing it over to local government in Manchester. You can bet your bottom dollar what little choice of GP exists will be further eroded. And watch those “out of area” referrals, which keep many people alive and saved from rubbish local care, being restricted.

  34. Posted October 21, 2015 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    One should not base Housing Policy…owning or renting…in this place and that… on Mummy’s weaning assurances that the future will be OK. Coal, Steel. Heavy Engineering and even Hi-Tech are being replaced by an invasion of umpteen win and then fail McDonald’s and other foreign McCloudsomoney companies.
    Renting is the only feasible way forward as a jobs can and do disappear as fast as a drunken Saturday night takeaway.
    In this regard,Good Luck to President Xi Jinping in his quest to get some traditional British Fish and Chips. As one of his forerunners Chairman Mao Tsetung said , referring to the mind-boggling heroic Long March, quoting I believe Lao-Tzu, ..”the longest journey begins with the first step…” There may be one open… somewhere, depending on the time of day and day of week as they are best eaten freshly cooked. Lousy when re-microwaved. Perhaps he would consider an Indian instead.

    • Posted October 22, 2015 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      I don’t suppose Dave has heard of Cleethorpes but him and George could take Xi Jinping there for an excellent sit down haddock .

      My brothers employer took some very rich far eastern customers to Liverpool’s Anfield stadium for a tour .

      When the luxury coach stopped outside the ground besides rows of boarded up houses they looked worried and asked whether it was safe to get off !

      It all looks so glamourous on the telly . Best not to deviate from the tourist route or the script .

  35. Posted October 21, 2015 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    I do not know why you are asking because the bill already been finalized and we all know it will not be changed.
    My question today is holiday lets which is part of housing.
    There are well over 200,000 holiday lets in the uk owned by individual which are subsidies by the taxpayers t0 the tune of nearly 9 billion pounds a year and if they give a service to the people that are staying there it becomes a business with no IHT to be paid.
    They get full tax relief on their mortgages, not like buy to let now, Why is this group of people single out for special treatment also the price of these homes range from 200,000 into the millions.
    A lot of young people complain that cannot get housing near their family in rural places because of these people, is this a case of special treatment for the few while everybody else is facing tax increase or benefit cuts.

    Reply The Bill will be amended in committee so now is a good time to consider its details.

  36. Posted October 21, 2015 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    The country has a housing shortage because the government allows an extra three hundred thousand people to come here every year.

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      I think you are a bit off message there. Please attend an ‘Immigration Benefits us ALL’ session at your local government message centre at once. Everyone knows that a high level of immigration has no affect on the housing market – nor does it depress wages. On the contrary, it creates ‘growth’.

    • Posted October 21, 2015 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      The government is not counting the people who come in on temporary visas and fail to leave, they have no idea how many are net immigrants.

  37. Posted October 21, 2015 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    The population has gone up by 8 million in recent years and the people living in temporary housing keeps on rising and with immigration set to rises to 10 million over the same time, immigrants do not come hear to stay in temporary housing because by local law you to have a connection area, How is it that immigrants do not have a problem finding housing but people who have lived hear for years do.

    As for house building, I cannot see much change on that front because builds are happy as they are at 130,000 a year and I think they right. as councils you cutting their budgets again for the next 4 years and as for housing association I can only see building now when they sell one home and do not think your get the mount of people you want to buy the homes from the housing association that want maybe the ones that are having their put up will buy and then sell it or let it out.

    The thing also you do not have the skilled workers and bricks wanted to do what you want to do and no money, I think housing association will do less from now on.

    If you want to do something you have rise the money and train the people and do it your self like the old days

  38. Posted October 21, 2015 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    As for going to china for hand outs and contracts for the boys is a mistake, They take a very dim view of people that are not strong and will walk all over you.
    I know I have lived with them,

    Desperate people doing desperate things, no good will come of this.

  39. Posted October 21, 2015 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    The biggest mistake made in the last 26 years have been taking down the berlin wall for big business and shipping all your work to china.
    !. as soon as you took down the wall you went to the middle east and went to war and started filling your self up with immigrants.
    2. you shipping all your jobs to china for big business, in fifty year from now or sooner most of the business went to china to save a few pounds and dollars will be taken over by china.

  40. Posted October 21, 2015 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    I may have a misunderstanding on this. We take in foreigners, who have contributed NOTHING. They are then put in council housing. They are given money/benefits to pay the rent. The rest is paid for out of everyone else’s taxes. As a lot of these incomers can’t speak the language it will make a lot of them unemployable – so will spend most of their time here being a financial burden on the rest of us. After so many years will they qualify to being able to buy that house? – Then after a period of time can sell it without paying ANY of the profit back? – – If so it seems a ridiculous state of affairs to give people a totally free life, house, money and NHS – -and eventually a free house – bought out of everyone else’s taxes. – -it seems being foreign and claiming to be “penniless” – despite paying traffickers, turning up clean and smart in fashionable clothing – will get you everything – -being English and a contributor for 45 years gets you a “stately home” – otherwise known as *** hall.

  41. Posted October 21, 2015 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    This is a good thing:

    “The Bill also revokes Sections 225 and 226 of Labour’s 2004 Housing Act.”

    When it comes to forcing local authorities to make provision I’m not so sure. Imagine if we could invent 50 million homes tomorrow, it would make it affordable and then we would attract 500 million immigrants and then be forced to house those.

    For decades I’ve seen empty warehouse space in London (highly desirable) 100 yards from Liverpool St Station. Out in the Country I’m seeing plots of country being built on. Changing beautiful assets of Britain into another part of a non de-script metropolis.

    Strengthen our your ability to build in the cities and large towns but restrict the Bills remit in the country.

    I don’t know who owns these large areas in the City that could house many but they they need to be used up first before destroying our hamlets and villages. There is another half of a whole street again not far from the City Sq mile owned I understand by a celebrity business man and empty since I’ve known it and that’s a long time.

    I’d like to see something done there to elevate the pressure. And because of these very wealthy City property owners sitting on their empty places it puts pressure elsewhere. It means long standing pubs are being converted into flats and other interesting community buildings lost.

    If those who own land, buildings, streets in the City that are empty and derelict for more than 5 years, then time for compulsory purchase by the council at a set knock down price. Give the incentive for something to happen.

    Nice to see an MP concerned about these things.

  42. Posted October 21, 2015 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    In Manchester there are still blocks of affordable flats empty. It is often not the number of properties which are built , but rather where they are built.
    Immigrants are more likely to come over to this country to live in streets where they have their own ethnic network and hyper extended family. They would not survive in a flat on their own in Manchester , not being able to speak the language , understand how to live , pay bills. fill out forms, register with a GP and all the rest of it.

  43. Posted October 22, 2015 at 1:35 am | Permalink

    The thrust of policy is all wrong. The aim should be get house prices down across the board, not to manipulate particular sectors of the market. The key measures should be:
    – Halt immigration so as to contain demand
    – Let builders build what they want to build, to satisfy demand as they see it
    – Sell off all social housing, to tenants at an attractive price, or to landlords
    – Raise BoE base rate to a realistic level (say 2% above anticipated inflation)
    – Housing subsidies to be paid to people and families only as long as they need it
    – Never again tie subsidies to particular properties
    – Stop favouring the retired elderly, so that more property comes to the market

    Initially, these measures may make things worse, but fairly soon house prices would fall in real terms.

    For the record, the ratio of average house price to average income was less than 3 during the mid-1990s. It could be again.

  • 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.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page