Housing policy

The three stark requirements of the Barber Manifesto to solve the housing problems of the UK are to end Council house sales, to impose rent controls and to build more Council houses. Two of these proposals would make the situaiton worse.

The problem of UK housing has been caused by the potential demand outstripping the supply, leading to increases in the costs of buying or renting a property. The big increase in the number of people coming to our country in recent years has added to the demand side, with the addition of more than 250,000 people a year requiring substantial increases in housing provision. We need to ensure decent provision of homes for those coming to join our society, and to avoid letting down people already settled here. The impact in certain areas is clearly much greater, as the number of migrants is more than double the 250,000 net. To the extent that new migrants wish to live in popular parts of the country with high employment it can increase the demand for more homes in the most stressed parts, as in London and the south east, assuming those leaving the country were more widely spread out . The debate about how many people to invite in to our country and who should have a work permit is relevant to the housing issue. I favour sensible levels of inward migration with better controls over numbers seeking low paid employment.

The problem of supply is not improved by the first two measures in the 3 measures Manifesto. Contrary to the view of the left, selling a Council house to its tenant does not reduce the supply of housing or make things more difficult for people on the waiting list. The family will continue to live in the Council house whether rented or owned. The sale of the property can make a direct contribution to boosting supply, if the proceeds from sale are then used to help build more homes in the public sector.

Rent control is an attractive policy for all those who have a secure tenancy in a decent home and wish to carry on living there. Of course tenants would like their rents to stay the same rather than go up as inflation takes place. It is, however, not good news for landlords, developers and investors in rented property. Whilst there will be no tears shed for them on the left or in the fashionable media, they are essential to solving the housing problem. If rent controls are too draconian for owners then owners seek to sell their properties or to take them off the rental market in some other way. Tough rent controls discourage new investment in privately owned property to rent. The paradox of rent control policy is it can only succeed in holding down some rents at the price of making property scarcer and probably dearer for those who do not yet have a rental contract for a home of their own. The recent experiment in Paris with rent control did not solve the housing scarcity in the central districts where it was applied, and eventually was ended by a court case. Cities that have experimented with long term tough rent controls have ended up with less housing than they need.

Of course building more homes will help meet the needs of families and is an important part of the answer. To do that we need to harness private capital as well as public capital. Meeting the aspiration of the many to own their own home should also be central to the policy. Selling social homes to their tenants is part of that, and is a policy that can free resources for more homes to be built.

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180 Comments

  1. Andy
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    Of course the biggest driver of housing demand is not migration at all – it is old age and other demographic factors.

    Today’s housing policy has its foundations in the 50s and 60s – a time when average life expectancy was a decade lower than it is today. These people who were expected to die – but haven’t- have to live somewhere.

    Similarly younger people are pairing up and marrying later. It was early 20s – it is now early 30s. They want to spend a decade longer living alone. Where is there?

    Housing policy has not kept change with these demographic shifts. The wrong types of property are built in the wrong places. Moreover our politicians have literally choked our cities to death with the Green Belt. A noose which prevents sensible growth.

    We also continue to allow obscene profiteering. Huge numbers of people have second homes, third homes – many of which are empty most of the time – further intensifying the crisis.

    I was lucky. I got on the property ladder just before the boom made it completely unaffordable. But we have friends who are on their early 40s – both with well paid jobs – who can not get on the property ladder because in London you need a million pounds to buy a terraced house.

    The Baby Boomers – you lot – bought up all the capital and are hoarding it for yourselves. You wonder why young people are attracted to Mr Corbyn’s anti-capitalism. It is because you stole all the capital – and there is none for them.

    • DUNCAN
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      Are you suggesting the State should abolish private property rights or at least suspend the legal right of private individuals to exercise their right to own and purchase private property?

      You need to examine the consequences and implications of what you’re suggesting.

      It’s important to remember that Corbyn and his Marxist ilk concern themselves with one thing, total political control of all things. If that means deceiving young voters into thinking they can have it all without the requisite costs then that is exactly what they’ll do

      Never trust a socialist. They’ll take your money and politicise a nation with it

      • Hope
        Posted January 3, 2019 at 11:19 am | Permalink

        JR, your govt changed planning legislation in 2010 to make it easier for councils to grant builds and to force councils to do so by cutting grants and in its place provide CIL and NHB.

        Your govt have built horrible urban ghettos under the label urban villages. In,building these horrible new towns your govt has,failed to provide the infrastructure,required i.e. Hospitals and schools to match increase in population. Look at the plans of said councils to demonstrate this is true.

        Your govt has blatantly lied to the public over its mass immigration policy. It publicly states to reduce to tens of thousands, past three elections, it has done absolutely nothing to achieve it. Quite the reverse it encourages it, see figures from outside EU. The person mainly in charge as HS now PM for these lies, one Teresa May. Perhaps what she ought to have said is her doomed strap lines: nothing has changed!

        May signed the UN immigration pact before Christmas which makes matters worse not better. She gives away control to UN in large parts of what ismdomestic policy. Get real JR.

        Worst govt in living memory: dishonest, incompetent, dire public services, crime and disorder a disgrace, prisons a mess and not seen as a punishment, social injustice for England and its citizens.

        Now we see boats arriving from across the channel. They are economic migrants. Do not let them land send them back. MayngavemFrance an additional £44 million, May gave EU additional £333 million for refugee trust, her servitude plan advocates giving a blank check to the EU for migrant and refugee trust. On top of this May claimed the £14 billion we are fleeced forin overseas aid stop these activities! In contrast she tells us she cannot afford to look after her own citizens in old Age and looks to tax us again!

        The public is being taxed its highest for fifty years! We cannot afford May’s left wing virtual signaling policies or lies any longer. We suffer in tax and we suffer in living standards because her.

        • Posted January 4, 2019 at 9:35 am | Permalink

          Duncan
          I totally agree , the worst government in living memory, worst still are the other two main parties.
          We are indebted. To Nigel Farage.if we are allowed another election I will only vote for that party, b ri ng it on and let’s try and drain our Swamp

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 3, 2019 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

        Indeed never trust a socialist, alas May and Hammond are essentially socialists giving us the highest taxes for 40 years and endless more red tape by the day plus prices and income controls.

        Alas even worse socialist still waiting in the wings.

    • Adam
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      Andy:

      Old people staying alive & couples preferring to separate to live alone add to demand.
      Increasing the population from outside adds worse when a reduction is needed.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted January 3, 2019 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        @Andy – old people living longer and people preferring to live on their own is not within our control (until we get an authoritarian government which prescribed euthaniser or coupling for genetic purposes, rule nothing out with the left).

        We can do something about population growth from those coming in to the country, especially growth from people who can not afford their own property. And we should.

    • Anonymous
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      Lincolnshire has an old population and dirt cheap property.

      Adding 5 Wembley stadia of young people to our cities each year is the problem.

      • Hope
        Posted January 3, 2019 at 11:40 am | Permalink

        First no asylum seeker or refugee should be allowed in this country from France. It is a safe country. Applications should be made at first country entered. They travelled across all EU countries. Why was this allowed?

        Javid’s ‘new’ immigration plan incorporates UN immigration pact which appears to have gone under the radar. Combine both plans and we have a new legal wave of mass immigration and less control by our nation state. Tories lied to say reduce to tens of thousands, allowed to settle in the community rather than detention centers. No ability to catch or deport has become the Home Office unofficial policy and then announce hundreds of thousands lost to the system and appear bewildered why homeless and rough sleepers have increased! Australia sensibly refuses to accept and turn boats around not to encourage more and it refused the UN immigration pact.

        JR, you keep failing to omit how your govt and party are central to these problems it has created and the huge serious crime surge as a consequence. Eight years of failure on every domestic and foreign policy front. Who led the regime change in Libya causing instability and mass migration, Cameron. Who used millions of U.K. Taxpayers money for regime change in Syria not knowing who he rebels were or what the money was spent on, Cameron. Again causing instability and mass migration. Who is using the navy as a ferry collection service in Mediterranean for mass immigration despite Cameron using millions of our money for centers in Syria!

        Your govt is incapable of governing. Get out.

      • rose
        Posted January 3, 2019 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

        Wales too has an old population yet it is where Bristolians flee to get houses when priced out of Bristol by ex Londoners. And why are they ex Londoners?

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      Don’t forget the foreign buyers of property for investment opportunity. Government sees stamp duty receipts from inflated sale values so don’t want to stop it to give aid to UK people in need of housing.

    • jerry
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      @Andy; “The Baby Boomers – you lot – bought up all the capital and are hoarding it for yourselves.”

      What a nasty generalised point! Many baby boomers have been caught the same way as young people are today, indeed some never recovered from the economic bust-boom-bust setbacks of the 1980s, whilst those who were able to buy their own house in the 1970-90s they can not now downsize, even if they want. Quite a few “baby boomers”, if polling figures are correct voted for Corbyn, in my own area – not withstanding being solid Blue, saw a substantial shift to Labour in 2017, whilst there is a strong voting age youth/student presence they alone can explain the shift.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted January 3, 2019 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

        Jerry. You have brought up some good points for Andy in your post. Yes, I am one of the baby boomers he goes on about. In a couple of months during the recession of the 1980’s my husband lost his job and we lost our home. There was no work for an HGV engineer. All the lorries were off the road due to the severe recession. We lived away from our parents so had nobody to baby sit while I took a full time job to manage. There was no free child care like they get today. It was a terrible time and yet Andy goes on about how easy we had it. Benefits were not like they are today. He needs to get his head out of where the sun doesn’t shine and get a life.

    • Jagman84
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      Classic divide and rule tactics with your standard agest slurs. So predictable, boring and utterly wrong, as per usual. I still recommend that you take an anger management course and stay well clear of Socialism. Surrounding yourself with a failed doctrine is bad for your mind and body.

      • Mitchel
        Posted January 3, 2019 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        Indeed,Mao kicked off the Cultural Revolution with an attack on anything and anyone old:”the mere sight of elderly people triggered the anger of the young Red Guards.Beaten and left for dead on the sidewalks old people stayed home.”(Patrick Lescot – Before Mao).

        Step forward mini-mao!

    • Iain Moore
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      In the last 20 years our brilliant far sighted British establishment has added 8% to our population via immigration, and you think that hasn’t had an effect on housing demand? In the next 25 years migrants and their families are going to add another 10 million to our population.

      • ian wragg
        Posted January 3, 2019 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

        According to Andy, they all bring their housing, schools and hospitals with them, they all contribute massively in taxes according to him, even the illegals and non working women of some cultures.
        The mans a joke.

        • John C.
          Posted January 3, 2019 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

          You are all fools for arguing with someone who argues, not from reason, but from strange personal trauma. Best to ignore and discuss the issue with the contributors who have useful things to say.

        • jerry
          Posted January 3, 2019 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

          @ian wragg; “they all contribute massively in taxes according to him, even the illegals and non working women of some cultures.”

          Non working women were very common in British culture to until not so long ago, they used to be called Housewife’s and Mothers, a very worthwhile career that actually saved the nation money in the long run.

          There are also many fully employed British born & bred passport holders who have never truly paid any taxes in their working lives either, theirs are a working life of recycling other people taxes, such as Civil servants, those in the State education sectors or the Armed forces for example. They might all do very worthwhile, perhaps essential, jobs but none are in real terms economically productive.

          The mans a joke…

          • Posted January 3, 2019 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

            Is it a man, though?

          • Posted January 3, 2019 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

            And is it perhaps an agent provocateur? If so, it’s very good at its job!

    • Caterpillar
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Andy, whilst the increase in.life expectancy by 4 or 5 years over the past three decades is to be welcomed, and the ONS like to mention it first in their list of causes of population growth, it is not the major effect. Over the past 15 years, the population increase due to net migration has averaged 250,000 per year whilst births-deaths has been at 200,000. More than half the increase has then been directly due to immigration. Moreover births to UK born females has been falling, whilst to immigrants has been increasing. To return to a stable, or slower growing population, as was the case before periods of mass immigration then a vast reduction in immigration and limiting the number of children per mother (as was successful in China’s improvements of living standards) are the most obvious approaches. The implication of your first sentence is to cull old people seems less noble than the policy that has has been to increase retirement age to 67, which if coupled
      with reduced net immigration and limiting births would control the population.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 3, 2019 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        For several decades the British government professed to be concerned about the threat of over-population of the country, urged the British people to have fewer children, using the NHS to spread that idea, and had a policy of “would be zero immigration”.

        Then when the birth rate had dropped so far that there was barely any excess of births over deaths it quietly changed its mind about the threat of over-population, and started to bemoan the declining numbers of young people entering the workforce and to talk about a “demographic timebomb”, and set about importing other people’s children to make up for those which we had not produced partly at its previous urging.

        If Britain really needed more “young workers” as alleged then the British people could have provided those themselves, and the government could have taken practical steps to encourage that, we did not and we do not need to constantly import “young workers” from abroad in a kind of demographic Ponzi scheme.

        This policy reversal was a gross betrayal of the British people by their own politicians; and to be clear it actually started under Major, not Blair.

        • Caterpillar
          Posted January 4, 2019 at 9:30 am | Permalink

          Denis Cooper,

          Perhaps one small change that might help would be for the media to not only report GDP growth numbers each quarter, but to report a fuller national scorecard, including per capita measures, net capital formation measures, infrastructure and net wealth measures. I haven’t thought what the best scorecard would be, but a move from a narrow GDP focus on the headlines might allow us to be more easily informed of such demographic Ponzi schemes.

    • TL
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      Andy,

      “I was lucky. I got on the property ladder just before the boom made it completely unaffordable.”

      Words that could easily apply to the Baby Boomers and indeed myself who got on the ladder in the late 80’s.

      Like you, I recognise my good fortune, but unlike you I don’t resent the better luck that fell upon those older than me (assuming good luck is measured entirely in cash, as you appear to do).

      By the way, I wouldn’t tell anyone younger than you about your good luck; like me and the Baby Boomers you’ve stolen their future.

      • Ruth
        Posted January 3, 2019 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        The real reason. Baby Boomers are old and have witnessed too much. They must be marginalised.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      Surely to “buy capital” you have to have capital in the first place to buy it with!

      Then you say the baby boomers “stole all the capital”. In what way did they steal it and who did they steal if off? Why did the people they stole it off not report the theft or take more care of their assets?

    • Mark
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      You should blame the politicians and (central) bankers who created the property bubble.

    • Captain Peacock
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      There’s is no housing crisis only a population crisis. Flood the country with an extra 1 million people every 2 to 3 years then all resources will be scarce.

    • Den
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      Andy? I believe that you are either a die-hard socialist or a wind-up merchant. Maybe both.
      Show me a Country in the world that has thrived on socialist policies or one that still exists. If socialism works better than Capitalism tell me why North Korea is the poor neighbour of South Korea. Or is Marxism not proper Socialism?
      As for your ill-informed comment over “Baby-Boomers”, you talk (nonsense ed) Us Baby- Boomers help build the country up from the war years AND many of us suffered in the process. Did you ever have cope with a 15% MORTGAGE? At the time my interest payments swallowed more than half my take-home pay. We survived because we stopped spending.
      At today’s levels I wonder how many Millennials could manage paying out even another £1K per month to cover their mortgage.
      If you need to blame someone, blame successive Governments over the past 25 years for not listening to the people nor to the independent experts, those untarnished by Whitehall meddling. All because these Governments were infected with a socialist tendency- They think that it is ONLY they who know what is best for Us and our Families. etc ed

    • Nigel Seymour
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      Apart from the fact you are living in the past my friend, is it not a case of supply and demand in London town? It is the most desirable place to live in this country and with that it comes with a ‘realistic’ price that has to be paid. I travel on the Jubilee Line to Stratford fairly regularly and you can’t help observe the fact that a very high number (perhaps 75%) of those commuting are likely not to be British.

      • Andy
        Posted January 3, 2019 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

        How do you know they are ‘not likely to be British?’ Have you spoken to them? Doubtful.

        So what you actually mean is that based on how they look you assume they are not British. And that must mean you are judging them on what they look like – presumably skin colour.

        I would wager that most of ‘them’ were both born here and are as British as you. And that most have precisely zero to do with that EU.

        • Caterpillar
          Posted January 4, 2019 at 1:00 am | Permalink

          Andy,

          I assume NS is able to use more indicators than merely looks. Where I frequent the community languages have definitely expanded from Urdu and Panjabi, I hear a lot of Balto-Slavic languages (I cannot tell you which are which), what I think is Romanian, various Arabic, a lot of Spanish and more recently some begging in French (I dont know whether this is French people, N. African or other). Perhaps NS is using such an indicator (that is a changes in languages) to note that the strain on infrastructure is likely to have a component due to immigration – close your eyes and listen and you can hear the change.

          • Stred
            Posted January 4, 2019 at 9:31 am | Permalink

            When packed like a sardine on the Centra Line yesterday, I wondered how as do many people needed to be in London. I did a quick count and could not see any other native British passengers. The appearance and languages were not typically British. In the British Museum very few visitors sounded or looked like Britons, in the galleries or court. Many in the Japanese and Korean section were Oriental. The exhibition of amazing pottery and steel blades made around 1300 AD was probably better than they could have seen at home.

    • The Quiet Man
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      Here we go its all the fault of the elderly. A few points Andy first the elderly have paid their taxes bought their homes by working hard. Remember at the last election May telling the elderly we will let you keep a bit more of YOUR OWN money before we take it to pay for care. They same government are quite happy to give illegal immigrants and asylum seekers about £29k a year in benefits while our own OAP get around £6k. Why do you think the whole world want to come here because they know what mugs we are.

      • Andy
        Posted January 3, 2019 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

        The whole world does not want to come here – what a silly comment. Most of you lot complain about free movement. According to all of yo 450m+ EU citizens are allowed to come here at will. And, guess what, well over 99% of them have not come. Yep. Read it again. Well over 99% of them have not come. So to claim ‘the whole world wants to come here’ is not only wrong it is staggeringly wrong.

        Oh – and asylum seekers are not allowed to claim benefits while their cases are considered either.

        I agree that you are mugs. But only because you have fallen hook, line and sinker for the lies of the hard right.

        • Edward2
          Posted January 4, 2019 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

          The biggest increase in our population since 2000 in our history.
          Forget net immigration, over half a million new arrivals every year.
          Estimates of over a million illegals not in the figures.
          Despite efforts by the Border Agency.
          Bear in mind there are no proper figures as there is no proper suitable counting.
          Supermarket data estimates over 70 million population now in the UK.
          Any limit for you Andy?
          Million a year?

    • Steve
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

      Here we go again, It’s the pensioners as usual.

      Your obsession with hating pensioners is unhealthy. People will always grow old, including you. All you will achieve is simply to knock yourself out.

      I suspect there is some deep rooted psychological bent concerning your obsession with the aged.

      I wonder, did you get humiliated by a pensioner at some point ?

      Was it a clip around the ear, handbag job, or maybe a brolly somewhere unmentionable ?

      Perhaps you lost out on a house purchase because some pensioner got in with an offer you couldn’t match. Who knows, who even cares.

    • Original Richard
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

      Immigration has definitely been a bigger driver of housing demand in England, particularly the south of England, than people living longer.

      And I would hope that our government would try to reduce immigration rather than resort to euthanasia to solve the housing issue.

      If immigration continus at its current rate then I can see a modern version of the emergency post WW2 prefabs becoming a solution.

      As well as immigration, another reason for big house price increases has been equal opportunities and pay for women such that there are now two earners in each family instead of one.

      BTW, the first time I tried to get a mortgage I was told that I could not have one because I was not married or engaged to be married. So this at least does not hold back young people today.

  2. Lifelogic
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    Rent controls would indeed be a compete disaster, just as they were last time Labour introduced them. It is theft pure and simple. Why invest in something only to have it stolen off you by a Corbyn government. An outcome that May & Hammond seem so determined to bring about by their total lack of leadership and vision?

    No one should get subsidised housing at all long term. People should get help with housing costs only if they really need such help. When you have two people earning the same why should one have far more disposable income (as they get subsidised housing) and yet the other (perhaps even next door) does not and had to pay extra taxes to subsidise the other? Subsidised housing like subsidised health care, education or the BBC destroys the market. It is totally unfair competition to the unsubsidised providers.

    We just need more flats and houses (or fewer people). To get more houses you just relax and simplify planning, relax the OTT green crap building controls, reduce Hammond’s appalling housing taxes (15% SDLT and his CGT & Landlord/Tenant taxes) and just build more houses as & where they are needed. The OTT bank lending restrictive rules are very damaging too.

    Lots of places have a surplus of cheap housing, so try to get some more jobs into these areas. Cheap non green crap energy would help in many of these areas for heavy industry and perhaps some other fiscal incentives for some businesses to locate in these areas. Loads of government activity could be located away from London and it would far be cheaper to run too. Then again loads of government activity is fairly pointless anyway and best just closed down, simplified or cut out.

    • Adam
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      Rent control is like tightening a belt around an expanding balloon, expecting it not to break when the balloon bursts.

      • rose
        Posted January 3, 2019 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

        We had it in the sixties and it was a disaster. Private tenancies dried up as decent landlords and ladies left the sector while the Rachmans at whom the measures were aimed, stayed.

    • Christine
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic – The Government is doing the opposite. Most of the Civil Service jobs moved from London to the North West of England by Maggie Thatcher have recently been moved back to the cities leaving our towns desolate. All part of Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse. The only people benefiting are the owners of the office space in the cities. I wonder who’s friends they are?

  3. Newmania
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Here are some real numbers: 1960 pop. 52.4m av. house £11.9k, 2018 pop. 66.7m av. house £367k.
    House price inflation is caused by economic growth, household formation and lagging supplies of stock. EU migrants have a marginal affect ( See HOL report) but market failure is the culprit . Councils are elected by people who do not want any housing near them. Result,( what else) blocked development and prices above equilibrium( this is also why rent controls DO work).
    We are to blame.

    • sm
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      ‘People’ don’t want more housing near them when there is no planning or provision AT THE SAME TIME for educational and medical services, public transport and road improvements.

      You should check out the history of the Easterhouse Estate in Glasgow, originally built with no facilities and services other than new housing.

    • Adam
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      Newmania:

      NIMBY folk want to protect their neighbourhoods from congested concrete spoilage. That is what their elected govt should do. Quality is better than excess.

    • Dame Rita Webb
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      You forgot add the lax lending criteria of the banks and building societies as a spur to house price inflation. Applying for and successfully obtaining a mortgage in 1960 was a lot harder than it is now and was certainly the case in the run up to the events of 2007/8. Disagree with you on EU migrants having a marginal effect on property prices. You might like to to do a bit of googling about the grievances of home owners of the Firhall area of Sheffield and their concerns over freedom of movement.

    • Jagman84
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      The 66.7 m is the figure that HM Government will admit to for the whole of the UK. That’s more likely to be the figure for England alone and about 10 million for the provinces. The big supermarket chains estimated over 70 million, over a decade ago. That’s why we have a housing crisis. The hidden millions are the non-EU migrants. The ones you conveniently left out of the equation. What a surprise!

      • Stred
        Posted January 3, 2019 at 11:41 am | Permalink

        The figure for population is also hiding the number of EU migrants who declare that they will be staying less than a year. Many take a cheap flight home in less, then return, needing continuous housing.

        If the Nationwide BS graph on housing affordability is superimposed on the net immigration graph, there is an almost exact match. The regions with less migration also show more affordability. There is a hiccup at the time of the banking crisis, after which low interest rates start. This enabled the boom to continue until present. Before mass migration started under Blair, housing booms always collapsed. Now that landlords investment has been hit, landlords have withdrawn and the prices are reducing, especially in London where foreign buyers have deserted.

        • Newmania
          Posted January 3, 2019 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

          ..and do you also attribute the higher wages in areas of high inward migration to immigrants ?
          Or is this , by any chance , “despite immigration” ?

    • Ruth
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      A more realistic analysis:

      Multiple of average wage to average house price = x3 1960 (x10 2018 !)

      You don’t need many extra buyers to see the price of anything sky rocket. You only need two bidders in and auction room to do it.

      • Newmania
        Posted January 3, 2019 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

        So you think that the rest of the demand for housing has an ordinary effect whilst the last tiny bit due to migration has an enormous affect because of …no sorry you are going to have explain that?

        • Ruth
          Posted January 3, 2019 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

          Even a slight excess of demand causes the price to go up. Back it with unprecedented immigration and loose credit and it sky rockets, whether in the hands of welfare subsidised landlords or young people forced to compete with them.

          The clear signal to property investors from the Government is that their policies will continue to see the population boom, making housing a sure bet.

          From your previous postings I see that you are also confused about how importing poor and unqualified competitors for jobs causes wage depression and necessitates state funded in-work top-ups.

          Would you like me to explain that too ?

          • Stred
            Posted January 4, 2019 at 9:45 am | Permalink

            If you did, he still wouldn’t understand.

  4. DUNCAN
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    From a political perspective housing isn’t the issue. The issue is Labour and the left’s cynical exploitation of any human issue that affords them the opportunity to warp the perceptions of British voters and get inside their heads

    We all know Labour is a soulless party. In fact it’s a dead party. It died in the early 1970’s. It once had a genuine moral soul. It was sincere and to a degree apolitical. It believed in personal responsibility, self reliance and morality. Today, Labour’s a mere conduit to power for both the left and right of the Labour movement

    It is important the Tories expose Labour and the left for their faux concern over all issues relating to the human condition

    Previous scandals have exposed Labour for what they really are. A vicious, nasty, filthy political entity concerned only with political advantage and if that means turning a blind eye to human suffering to protect their electoral monopoly then that’s precisely what they’ll do

    It is time the Tories went full hog on Labour and their history of ‘sacrificing’ human beings on the altar of electoral convenience

    You must expose their faux compassion. It is a mere political tactic by an exploitative political animal

    • Mark B
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      Labour had a real purpose post WWII. Back then there was REAL poverty, not the fake sort we see today. Labour saw, wanted and met a real need for change, and change is what we got. The trouble is, once their client base began to experience wealth Labour lost its cause and went looking for new ones. That is how I think we are in the mess we are today. A choice between the Far-Left and the Left.

    • Dame Rita Webb
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      Its dead like the old working class it was built to represent. Its apparatchiks come from the middle class now who make a good living (far more than their talents would earn them in the real world) to represent the grievances of the feckless and near criminal.

    • A.Sedgwick
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Clement Attlee was outstanding and the untimely/unexpected death of Hugh Gaitskell ended a genuine party of the people. Harold Wilson was hopelessly indecisive and apart from keeping us out of Vietnam did little else of benefit.

      Sadly since Mrs. Thatcher the CP has also declined to the point that it is not remotely a party of the people with the current incumbent and all her misguided supporters being the nadir.

    • John C.
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      I don’t see the working class being dead. There are millions of people with low skill, poorly paid jobs. They’re just unrepresented now, merely exploited for political point-scoring by the Left.

      • Steve
        Posted January 3, 2019 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

        John C.

        “I don’t see the working class being dead”

        Neither do I. In fact I’ve checked and at the time of writing I definitely have a pulse.

        “They’re just unrepresented now, merely exploited for political point-scoring by the Left.”

        Yep. Keep the red flag flying boys, but do it while flat on your faces where we always drop you.

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    As you say “Cities that have experimented with long term tough rent controls have ended up with less housing than they need.”

    Of course, if you fix rents below market rates no one wants to (or can afford to) supply more houses to rent other than the government using other people’s money? You just kill the supply and investment confidence dead. Price is the mechanism to encourage more supply. You do also need to relax planning and cut taxes if you want more houses and flats to be supplied. SDLT at up to 15% is hugely damaging and deterring people from moving. Taxing landlord on profits they have not made has pushed up rents further and kills supply. You cannot pay tax on profits not made for long before you go bust.

    The circa £50K each of student debt, for largely worthless degrees, is hardly likely to help people buy their first home either? Half the university places should certainly go and should be replaced with more practical and sensible qualifications. Only give cheap loans for sensible STEM and similar degrees or practical skills where the jobs actually exist. Let people pay for their own hobby subjects if they wish to.

    In short Hammond (on housing as elsewhere) is a complete tax to death, confidence destroying, misguided idiot and Corbyn/Mc Donnall/SNP would be a total and utter disaster. What an appalling choice.

  6. Al
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    While building new residences may help, they need to be the right type of residences. Some thinking while planning would go a long way.

    For example, where I live there are office buildings that have been derelict for ten years, and are not up to code for new businesses to move in and most of the homeless are on low income, yet instead of replacing them with housing the local (Labour) council predominently approves development of luxury houses on greenfield sites – like the area’s only park. It just brings new people to the area without actually helping with the problems.

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    I see that:- Two thirds of people believe that university tuition fees of up to £9,250 a year provide poor value for money, according to a poll for The Times.

    The people are surely right, in most cases they are very poor value indeed. On top of the fees you have living costs and loss of income for three years or so, plus years of interest on this debt. It only makes sense for a rather small proportion of degrees. Others would often be better off training in practical skills, on the job or studying at night school. So why is the tax payer giving tax payer subsidised loans to people for largely pointless degrees? 50% of university students have 3 D’s or worse at A level they should be resitting them or learning brick laying, joinery, plumbing, tiling, landscaping, roofing, hair dressing, truck driving or something similar.

    • Andy
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      Oh dear – you’ve not been on the jobs market for a while, have you?

      It is a simple fact that for most good jobs nowadays a degree is a prerequisite. You will not even get an interview if you don’t have a degree. It does not always matter what the degree is, but having one is key.

      The same sort of jobs people like could walk into with a couple of O Levels in the 50s and 60s are degree level jobs now.

      And that’s why young people do degrees. Even with one the chances of walking into a great job are small. Without one, they are close to nil.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 3, 2019 at 10:58 am | Permalink

        Nonsense, many of the dubious secondary universities have an output that earns on average less than the average salary. This even after 10 years of working, plus they have all the debt hanging over them. Media studies graduated for example earn less than non graduates (on average). Even many of the better universities have many courses that confer little or no real value to the student.

        What the employers want to know is will you turn up and can you do the job competently and reliably! A bright person who did not go to university is still a bright person. If you have not got any student debt that is a big advantage too.

      • Posted January 3, 2019 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        You don’t get out much, do you, Andy? Perhaps you’ve never needed a plumber or a builder or someone to come and do your garden (if you know what a ‘garden’ is). Do you think they have degrees? And are they worthless people for the lack of them? And do you think they are all poor?

        Not everyone works in the bubble. Some people do actually WORK.

        • Andy
          Posted January 3, 2019 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

          I have a builder I use regularly, and gardeners and a plumber. They are all immensely skilful and talented and earn a reasonable living. None have been to university.

          But this does not negate the fact that for most good jobs nowadays a degree is a prerequisite. You will not even get an interview without one. Of course in some rich Tory circles you can bypass the degree by asking daddy to help. That is a route in which is fine for the public school educated Brexiteer elite, but which is denied to average folk. Many of today’s MPs would not be MPs had they not had extreme privilege gifted to them on a plate.

          • Edward2
            Posted January 4, 2019 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

            Ridiculous illogical nonsense.
            You have no definition of a “good job”
            If a degree is a prerequisite for a job then no Dad is going to clear that hurdle.
            Strange how you claim only Tory dads have clout when getting jobs for their offspring.
            No Labour or Lib Dem dads?

      • Edward2
        Posted January 3, 2019 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

        Chicken and egg Andy.
        Because 50% of you youngsters have degrees, then 50% of employers ask for candidates with degrees.

        • Andy
          Posted January 3, 2019 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

          I don’t disagree. But if you are a young person starting out what choice do you have? As a young person you know that most of the good jobs require a degree. You objecting to the system does not change it. It just means you are even less likely to get one of those good jobs.

          • Edward2
            Posted January 3, 2019 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

            More younsters are opting not to go to Uni lately.
            There are some very good apprenticeship and training schemes available with good companies developing.
            And jobs where you study and work

            Choice is good.

          • Ruth
            Posted January 3, 2019 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

            You’re better off doing an apprenticeship than a rubbish degree.

          • Posted January 3, 2019 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

            Define a ”good job”, Andy. Isn’t brick laying a ”good job”? Or perhaps lorry driving? Refuse collecting? Window cleaning? All excellent jobs – just not requiring a degree, ie a worthless piece of paper in some instances, involving three years’ time-wasting.

            You are a etc ed

      • Anonymous
        Posted January 3, 2019 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

        Andy confirms that degrees have been devalued.

        • Anonymous
          Posted January 3, 2019 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

          Andy Andy… Andy…

          I’m not voting again. Leaving it to young people. Lot’s of us oldies are doing the same.

          We got the message loud and clear this time.

      • Steve
        Posted January 3, 2019 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

        Andy

        What a load of old tosh !

        You do not need a degree to be selected for interview, and gain rewarding employment.

        I am approaching 60, I’m a qualified craftsman i.e City & Guilds. I never went to university, and I’ve never had to sign on the dole either.

        Perhaps you think you have automatic right to a big money job without necessarily being qualified for the role ?

        Try the Labour Party, sounds right up your street.

    • John C.
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      A degree, especially a first, used to be a fair guarantee of ability, irrespective of the subject. An employer would look for a graduate as a sign of intelligence, application and the ability to digest, analyse and reproduce ideas and information under pressure.
      Now it has become virtually meaningless.

  8. Everhopeful
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    This country is a mess.

    Every single stupid, short term,vote-grabbing, liberal policy has led us to this.

    We are overcrowded, there are not enough jobs, the High Streets are dying. We have fewer banks,fewer police stations and fewer post offices .We are no longer safe.

    Thatcher’s speeding up of council house sales was most unfair on ordinary buyers. It was also unfair on remaining council tenants since it lead to increased rents and eventually far fewer new council houses were built. Not to mention the fact that it represented a “selling off of the family silver.”( to be one of many..do we actually have a country any more?).

    What can be done? Who wants to live in a dangerous,concrete traffic jam?

    We were so wrong to “put our trust in princes.”

    • Mark B
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      Every single stupid, short term,vote-grabbing, liberal policy has led us to this.

      Nail, head, hit !

      But to be fair, no party has ever won an election on a mandate of higher taxes for all, have they ?

      This is the problem with our system, it relays on bribing people with their own money for votes.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 3, 2019 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        Well May tried it and through away her Majority. Not that they ever deliver lower taxes or decent services even when they do promise them.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted January 3, 2019 at 11:35 am | Permalink

        Mark B.
        Totally agree!
        Given the flaws in our “democratic” system I very much doubt if things could have worked out differently. But then, what system would/could work? Dismal times.

        • Mark B
          Posted January 3, 2019 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

          Direct Democracy.

          The problem is, ‘the promises’ MP’s have to make to get elected. If it were up to us, just like in the last referendum, we could tell them what we wanted. Just like the Swiss do, and they do not seem to suffer as we do despite not being in the EU, landlocked or, have higher levels of immigration despite less land mass.

    • Andy
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      No – the Tories have sold off all of the family silver. This, incidentally, is one reason why Brexit will fail. When we go to other countries and seek access to their energy markets, aviation, postal services etc …. they will rightly say no. Because we can not reciprocate because the Tories have already flogged it to foreigners.

      This message is brought to you in association with your friendly local train company. Run by the Spanish.

      • Martyn G
        Posted January 3, 2019 at 11:11 am | Permalink

        Andy – I rarely agree with much of your comments but, sadly, you are correct about the family silver having been flogged off to foreigners. Don’t blame the Tories, though, because since we joined the EU governments of all hues have allowed or even encouraged that to happen – quite unlike other nations who fiercely protect their important infrastructure from foreign acquisition.
        I wonder just how much of our household day-to-day expenditure (e.g. energy costs) now goes out of our pockets into those of our foreign owners?

        • Mockbeggar
          Posted January 3, 2019 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

          I don’t know about the family silver, but I seem to remember that it was Gordon Brown who flogged off most of our gold reserves at rock bottom prices.

        • TRP
          Posted January 3, 2019 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

          The oldish 2012 “UK for sale: Uniquely in the world Britain has sold more than half its compagnies to foreigners” on the Mail website and the more recent “Foreign direct investment involving UK companies: 2017” on the ons.gov.uk website might be relevant.
          This sale to foreigners appears to have been a behaviour not particularly followed by other EU countries. Is it because the EU has been unable to have its diktats followed by any country other than the UK, or has it been a policy followed by both Conservative and Labour governments based on half-digested 19th century free trade ideas?

      • Edward2
        Posted January 3, 2019 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        The UK already has huge overseas investments and ownership of overseas companies.
        There is a global market for such things.
        Did you not know?

        • Martyn G
          Posted January 3, 2019 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

          Yes, of course one knows. Name me a single item of essential infrastructure vital to this nation that, should the economic or otherwise interest of the overseas owners, be cut off or reduced thus causing harm to the nation.
          Who owns SNFC, the French national railways? Answer, France. Who owns our railways? Answer, 70% owned by foreigners. And so it goes on, the UK is at the whims of other people, not the government who allegedly represent us, the cash cows of foreigners.

          • Edward2
            Posted January 4, 2019 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

            Why would an owner of a company deliberately “cut off”, the service they provide?
            It is a ridiculous notion.
            You are worried that “foreigners” will deliberately buy UK companies to shut them down to create harm to the nation.
            Hilarious.
            Your answer requires a closed socialist state where only the state owns any business.

  9. Dave Andrews
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    A housing shortage is not helped by the buying up of cottages for holiday lets and second homes. Just when we are talking about developing farming, the young people needed for the industry are forced out of the countryside by lack of housing.
    Deal with this issue and immigration numbers and see if there still is a need to churn up more English meadow for further housing.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      The buying up of cottages is small beer compared to the buying up of new apartments by LL’s. I have seen so often a new development go up and, soon afterwards the; “TO LET” signs go up.

      The trouble is, the government has got itself into a ponzi scheme and addiction to Stamp Duty / Tax money it cannot easily break out of. It has created a demand that, if stopped suddenly, will create a crash. So they just endlessly plod on.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 3, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

        Nothing wrong with renting (people often need flexibility) and these landlords are often funding the development which otherwise might not get build.

        You either rent the money (as a mortgage paying interest) and buy or you rent a property and pay rent. Unless you have cash these are your only real options.

        • Mark B
          Posted January 3, 2019 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

          LL

          The problem is demand and supply. Government has created through MASS IMMIGRATION, various purchase schemes, very low interest rates and so on that, to get on the property ladder one needs a large deposit. Most cannot do that and pay the large Stamp Duty / Tax. But people buying property off-plan and then just putting up for large rents is driving up prices artificially. This cannot go on.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      Dave Andrews,
      Farmers always used to provide accommodation for their workers until council houses and the lifting of agricultural easements ( ie they could sell cottages to second homers) relieved them of the responsibility. Too expensive now I guess or are they allowed to provide caravans or the like? I once picked plums in Evesham and lived in a shed 🙀!

    • James
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      All local authorities should be instructed to immediately sell every one of their vacant houses to the highest bidders. There are vast numbers of council owned houses standing empty, which young couples and others would be only too pleased to rehabilitate or improve at their own expense, thereby saving the council from having to come up with the resources to do so. The money generated could be paid back to ratepayers via reductions in their council tax.

      • Alan Jutson
        Posted January 3, 2019 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        James

        Sounds good on the face of it but then are you going to relieve the Council of their legal obligation to house people who are in need or made homeless.

        What do they do then, pay Travel Lodge or someone similar huge sums of money which they then have to get from Raising Council Taxes. !
        Then who pays for the facilities of washing clothes, cooking food etc, is a temporary address legal enough for Social services HMRC, or even the very council who put them in that address.
        The alternative of course is to rent privately, but then that completes the full circle of who can pay so called market rates, the Council, the renter, the taxpayer, social services via benefits.

        People want to feel secure in a home, either by renting sensibly or by purchase.

        • James
          Posted January 4, 2019 at 5:30 am | Permalink

          Yes, councils should not be under an obligation to house people. Charitable cases should be dealt with by charities. They are much better at it than councils, and we would have more money to give to charities if council and other taxes were lower. I include in this the billions we are paying to the EU, and the billions we are borrowing to pay in overseas aid, not to mention the absurdly large further billions for HS2, Hinckley and numerous other crass mistakes by an inordinate number of our current crop of dire politicians.

    • bigneil
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 10:31 am | Permalink
    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      You can build houses for pigs and cows on agricultural land, largely without any planning being needed, but not is seems houses for people! Have we perhaps not got our priorities quite right?

  10. Adam
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Stop importing & adding too many people.
    Covering the entire country with houses would not solve their accommodation problem.

  11. jerry
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    “Contrary to the view of the left, selling a Council house to its tenant does not reduce the supply of housing or make things more difficult for people on the waiting list.”

    If you remove a Council house house that would otherwise become vacant from circulation it is no longer available to another tenant. When the previously tenants bought on the commercial market, like so many did before 1979, their Council house was available to another tenant/family.

    “The family will continue to live in the Council house whether rented or owned.”

    For your theory to work there would have had to have been a one-for-one replacement of each and every Council House sold, which there has not been (since 1979), has there? Instead all that has happened is a boom in the conversion of family sized properties in to HOMOs or smaller self contained properties (usually flats), often unsuitable for families – indeed sometimes the conversions have been of the very same family sized ex Council houses you suggest remain available…

    “Of course tenants would like their rents to stay the same rather than go up as inflation takes place.”

    Nonsense, Rent Control does not stop changes in rent, due to inflation and the such, it just regulates such changes when usual market forces can not work or are absent altogether. You appear to be mixing up Rent Control and the so called Rent Freeze.

    “It is, however, not good news for landlords, developers and investors in rented property. [..//..] they are essential to solving the housing problem.”

    Builders and developers can still make money from new-build and refurbishment, the only people who might suffer are the commercialised “Rigby’s” of the sector (thankful the Rackman’s have been outlawed & ousted), such people are not essential to solving the housing problem – they are by and large the problem.

    “Meeting the aspiration of the many to own their own home should also be central to the policy.”

    Meeting the majorities need should come first, and if rent in the commercial sector were cheaper, either due to Rent Control or the amble provision of Council Housing, like in the 1950’s through to the late 1970s such tenants would have the spare money to put aside to save (as a deposit) towards their aspiration.

    Sorry, you dislike the Barber report because it rubbished the last 40 years of your own ideals, not because Barber is wrong!

  12. Mark B
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    The big increase in the number of people coming to our country in recent years has added to the demand side . . .

    To which the solution could be, reduce the number of people being allowed to come and settle. But hey, why state the obvious ?

    Exactly at what point do we say enough is enough ?

    It is not just housing, it is services as well. You cannot have a MASS IMMIGRATION policy and a FREE at the point of service system of healthcare, schooling and social provision as these will easily become overwhelmed.

    MASS IMMIGRATION is not a solution to our problems especially if those entering the country are low wage, low skill and of poor education and little or no finances. These people should be fully self supporting.

    If big business wants all these people, then big business should pay for ALL their costs. In effect they people already living here and paying in are the once subsidising big business.

    The otherside of the problem is that most of the people who wish to settle here want to live in London and the South East. Water supply and sanitation is already under strain as is transport.

    It’s a joke !

    • Dennis
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      Mark B – Totally agree. As other 1st world countries, Scandinavia, Switzerland, Belgium, Iceland etc., etc. have populations less that 10 million and they seem to do all right, why does the UK need more than 60 million and rising? It is absurd.

      I think the UK has at least 50 million too many people. At 10 million say, we all could have 2/3 houses, not worry about how much water, electricity etc., we use, no problems with parking and what emissions we put out, no need for many power stations, much more organic food grown so if 50% is eaten by insects there will more than enough to go round, no encroachment on green sites etc., stop using more than our fair share of the biosphere, no more ecological overshoot etc., etc.

      If 250,000 people continue to leave each year then stopping all immigration (even if they are all Einsteins, Stephen Hawkins, Picassos etc., mustn’t be so greedy as we are now) would result in a population decrease of 1 million in 4 years! User friendly with no coercion.

      Any downsides?

    • jerry
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      @Mark B; A not so nice rant.

      Just how long does it take to plan and build even a large modern three to five bed family house, it didn’t take years it does now back in the 1950s, when there was perhaps greater and an even more immediate requirement for new homes to replace the Blitzed housing stocks, never mind the wider (all party) social desire to replace slums.

      In the years some have found scapegoats out of migrants, hogged the political lime light in linking it to the EU, back in the 1950s not only were large housing estates built but also entire New Towns – and they require full, from scratch, services, from water, electricity, gas, education and hospitals etc. too, on the flip side they tend to attract new industries, both old-tech and new.

      If only homes had not become houses and those houses become investments and those investments become a party of the someone’s pension portfolio were full or partial ‘cashing-in’ value becomes all important.

      • Mark B
        Posted January 4, 2019 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        You obviously did not read my ‘rant’, as you call it. Not attacking anyone, just the policy and those behind it.

        Go to the back of the class.

    • rose
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      Cameron did eventually get it, which is why he kept the Syrians in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan, but now we have started again with someone who doesn’t.

    • anon
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

      Apparently in Japan. Housing in areas is almost free. Please websearch yourself.

      The population is ageing and falling.

      They have decided to manage the demographic change in Japan without resort to mass immigration.

      Just so you can conpare and contrast.

      Further restrict interest relief deductions for CT to “new builds” only and for a finite period only. That will level the playing field somewhat, leaving an incentive for developers.

      Rent control like selling houses wont make a house dis-appear, it may be sold to a resident buyer!

      • Mark B
        Posted January 4, 2019 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        Japan is a difficult country. It is over populated and has decided to allow some immigration. Time will tell if those arriving can asymilate ?

        The Japanese have a saying; “The nail that sticks out, gets hammered down.”

  13. MPC
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    The Right to Buy may not affect overall supply but it does reduce the supply of social housing over time given that Council homes are sold at a discount and not at market value. The discounted sale proceeds in each case are insufficient to replace each home sold especially when you factor in house price/building cost inflation.

  14. Old Albion
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    JR, I have a wry smile when reading about a ‘housing shortage’ Until two months ago, I lived just outside Maidstone.
    South of the town there are many huge housing developments being built. I don’t know the number of new dwellings, but it certainly runs into the tens of thousands. This predictably, has led to huge congestion in an already severely congested area. No serious money has been put into infrastructure, the place became a nightmare to live in. Hence I’ve moved away.
    Why has this happened? Because the current Government compelled KCC to build all these homes (mostly on greenfield sites) to house the burgeoning population. Kent you see, is in the frontline when it comes to uncontrolled immigration…………………..
    Successive (dis)UK governments concreting over (the garden of) England to house the world.

  15. Sakara Gold
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Tell the truth when discussing the sale of our council housing stock. The proceeds were not and are not used to build replacement social housing by the councils, they are used – at the insistence of central government – to keep rates down.

    In the main ex-council houses are now owned by foreign (mainly American) pension funds and private equity, who relish the regular (always upward) rent reviews. This forms part of a pattern started by Thatcher of selling off state assets and using the proceeds for general expenditure, the resulting huge capital outflows in the form of dividends etc distort the forex markets and impoverish us all.

    This is a small country with limited resources with net inward migration of a quarter of a million per annum. The social fabric of the nation is creaking under the strain of absorbing this number of people, not to mention the obvious stretching of public services to the absolute limit.

    The government should keep its manifesto promise and reduce net immigration to “the low thousands”

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

      Sakara. I agree totally with what you have said. The likes of Andy keep going on about how we should be taking in refugees. How long do they think these problems in their countries will go on for? Every since I was young there have always been civil wars etc and they are not going to stop very soon. So just how many refugees does Andy suggest we take? One million, four, six, —–I could go on and on. Taking in a few refugees for a year or so will not make any difference when we are dealing with several millions of potential refugees. In the meantime all social services for the people who have made this country are getting worse. It’s time to let them sort out their own country like we had to years ago when life for ordinary people was crap. We’ve come a long way and life for most is much better than it was in the last century but it has come at a price. We have to look after our own before taking in millions. Yes, we can try our best to help them in their own lands but it is up to them to make the difference. I am fed up watching so many people, young and old in this country go without basic needs and a crap NHS service which is creaking at the seams. My friend has just been told that she will wait a total of over 5 months for a hip operation. It’s dire.

  16. Alan Jutson
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Yep the old supply and demand equation again.

    If demand for anything increases and supply is limited, then the price usually rises.

    It used to be the same years ago with seasonal food/vegetables in the shops until we imported from around the world to satisfy the demand.
    Now we import cheap labour but have nowhere to house them, so the cost of housing rises.

    Many children used to live in the family home until they married, it enabled them to save, now they want to move out (even though many cannot really afford it) as soon as they start work.
    Many say they do it for independence, but are then hamstrung through lack of money due to high living costs, and so are independently financially poor.

    Selling off of Council houses was wrong for the simple reason it reduced housing stock that was available to rent, and thus reduced the Councils flexibility and ability to supply, the fact they they were sold off at less than market value, and Councils were not allowed to keep all of the money at the time, simply added to the housing problem.
    Who is going to build a new house, and then by law have to sell it off at less than it cost to build.
    Selling off parts of a large housing estate also complicates maintenance schedules, and increases costs, especially large refurbishing programmes.

    Whilst the population increases and people want their own living space, then the only solution is to build more houses for rent or purchase.
    To build more houses you need more available land, and since that land is limited due to planning of one sort or another, then the cost of purchasing that land also increases, as you use more land for houses, then you also need more land for schools, hospitals, roads, shops, offices, factories, reservoirs.
    But then by arithmetic you have less for recreation and for growing food.

    Choices, choices, choices, but one thing is sure, its all interconnected and you need some joined up thinking in order to get a sensible solution.

  17. gyges
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    When people discuss the supply and demand in the housing market, no one mentions supply and demand of money.

  18. KZB
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    House price inflation has been deliberately stoked up by government policy and enthusiastically supported by “property porn” TV programmes. The help to buy policy was really about keeping this unsustainable ramping going, not about helping young people. Also, housing benefit subsidises the ridiculous London house price bubble by many billions p.a. For some reason price inflation on one of the necessities of life, i.e shelter, is seen as a good thing. How on earth did this viewpoint come about?

  19. Alan Jutson
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Afraid Our Present and past Chancellors are not helping matters with increasing tax rates on homes.
    Stamp duty on Purchase makes moving financially more difficult, so reduces employment flexibility.
    Capital Gains tax on second homes, buy to let properties (I have neither) reduces flexibility and stifles house sales, availability and choice.
    Inheritance tax, stops the John Major plan of cascading wealth going to the younger generation, which may have helped them with house purchase/improvement.
    Local Councils financial 106 type agreements on new developments an added cost to building.
    Vat on home improvements/refurbishment encourages the alternative economy (who pay less tax as a result) but reduces encouragement to improve housing stock.
    With a £100,000 improvement not uncommon these days a 20% tax take/added cost is very significant in any decision.

    New build housing is Zero rated Vat, so why charge Vat on any improvements ?

    No Joined up thinking !

  20. Mr Ison
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Aye,rent controls on imaginary properties is perhaps jumping the gun.

  21. Posted January 3, 2019 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    Millions of (second hand) homes in the U.K. remain on the market and unsold for up to a decade. If the ‘demand for housing’ was not primarily from people without assets or income, and if the Government did not distort the housing market in favour of Construction corporations, the market would work and we would see if we do need more housing or not!

  22. Alastair Harris
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    The whole social housing thing is a buggers muddle, driven by a fallacy. Local rents are driven by supply and demand. Council houses are no different, except that the rents are subsidised, and so creates an artificial undersupply, presumably managed by waiting lists. But “social housing” doesn’t solve the economic problem. It just creates a distortion we taxpayers get to pay for. It is quite right that people get the to choose where they live, as long as they pay for that choice!

    • jerry
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      @Alastair Harris; “Council houses are no different, except that the rents are subsidised…

      How? Or do you mean because LA housing can be run as ‘not-for-profit’ there is no requirement for the LA to make profit from their housing stock and thus the rental fee is below what a commercial landlord needs to charge – if so that is an argument against private landlords, or at least the unregulated market.

      “…and so creates an artificial undersupply, presumably managed by waiting lists.”

      Simple solution, build more council houses, demand met! But then the private landlord, who mops up the slack, is unhappy…

      “But “social housing” doesn’t solve the economic problem. It just creates a distortion we taxpayers get to pay for.”

      Any distortions and losses to the taxpayer are due to the state having to pay out inflated housing benefits that (helps) pay for private ‘market’ rents when demand outstrips LA housing supply. When the tenant is housed in a council owned property there is little or no lost to the tax payer as the money (housing benefit) is circulatory within wider govt. Again you make an argument for the abolition of the private landlord, not the LA Council house!

  23. agrictola
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    The real trick is not matching supply to demand, though as a generalisation it needs to happen. The plaudits will go to whoever can do it for average wage earners whose jobs are in the more affluent areas of the capital. It will 3be achieved through leadership and imaginative design probably against the wishes of those with a preconceived idea of what good design comprises, not the ones selecting entrants for yesterday’s piece.

  24. The PrangWizard
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Rent controls are introduced for political advantage only. The inevitable outcome is that where property owners are caught in the system their properties deteriorate because they are rarely allowed a sufficient return, cannot regain possession and are thus unable to maintain their buildings in good order.

    Tenants are loath to move, and the rental market dries up because property owners will not willingly enter it in such a climate. Their capital is also destroyed in the process, an outcome probably wished for by those who favour controls.

  25. Mr Ison
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Tax breaks for those lucky enough to own imaginary properties could be a thing..

    Actually if one looks at the assumed Civil Service model of home ownership we find they are quite capable of providing homes for themselves but less so for the national requirement.

    Luckily we were offered and chose to leave the EU excuse for incompetence, so now with the last vestiges of Heathism dying out within the Conservatives we could also see the demise of Marxism too.

  26. Mr Ison
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Fair dinkum, the policy of, could be a guiding principle imported from Oz.

    It took Australia many generations to recognise indigenous people equally as human beings and we could learn from that experience.

  27. Pete Else
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    In large areas of the country the indigenous population has been displaced by immigrants that have taken over due to government, central and local, giving them priority. Uncontrolled immigration has led to very high levels of homelessness and greatly increased housing costs for all of us that actually have to pay for our own housing. In concert with this we have seen no go areas throughout the country and increased crime which has been hushed up by government and the media. Together with the long standing policy of interference in the housing market this has led to expensive housing and a deterioration in quality of life for all of us. Well done the government, another failure on a massive scale.

    • Mockbeggar
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      Re Mr Ison’s previous entry:

      “In large areas of the country the indigenous population has been displaced by immigrants that have taken over due to government, central and local, giving them priority.”

      Isn’t that exactly what happened in Australia?

      • Mark B
        Posted January 4, 2019 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

        Isn’t that exactly what happened in Australia?

        No ! Because the Aborigines were nomadic people and did not build large cities like we see today.

  28. a-tracy
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    “selling a Council house to its tenant does not reduce the supply of housing or make things more difficult for people on the waiting list.”

    You don’t know many players of the system do you John? What happens is a female single mother buys her council house she’s not contributed a penny towards as she’s lived off housing benefits as her child gets to 18, on massive discounts, some pay just £20,000, then they move in with their boyfriend and rent out their ex-council house for £650 per month – a couple of hundred pounds more than the council were charging for it including the rates, or they sell it for a tasty profit.

    The Government are now having to pay more housing benefit to private landlords at much higher rates than they charged for their own properties. When the housing associations sold off their houses they bought for just £7500 each a few years back they don’t build the new homes they’re supposed to at anything like the correct rate, they just soak up the money in their pension funds and large senior executive pay packets – for what – handing out homes and paying people to upkeep them hardly a difficult job.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted January 4, 2019 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Atracy this is exactly what a member of my family did. She had rent paid with benefits then boyfriend moves in, bought the house really cheap. Sold later for a massive profit. Nice work if you can get it.

  29. Stred
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    If council houses are sold at a big discount, then there will not be sufficient to build new ones, even studios.

  30. Bryan Harris
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Certainly the building regulations need to be improved to allow builders to do their job with a little more freedom. That might encourage more private capital.

    Council houses have long been a drain on the taxpayer – Time this was also reviewed with the option to make tenants more responsible for upkeep, etc.

    It seems that part of the ‘British dream’ is to have a house with garden, back and front. What an enormous waste of land this is when a lot of people have very little interest in keeping a garden.

    • norman
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      “What an enormous waste of land this is when a lot of people have very little interest in keeping a garden.”
      And more’s the pity, IMO. For children, especially. It’s already tragic to see new detached houses going up with barely a wheel-barrows’ space between them. I feel so privileged to have been brought up in a more civilized Britain, even though it was in tied cottages or council housing.
      Such a lot of nonsense about controlling obesity – children need to get their heads out of their i-phones and get out into the fresh air and get some creative exercise.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

      Bryan. There are many people living in subsidised council housing that could afford to either buy their own property or rent privately. They have brilliant life styles while paying cheap rents and are happy to live in a 3 bedroom house with no children.

      • Bryan Harris
        Posted January 4, 2019 at 7:58 am | Permalink

        Yes – and can afford 2+ luxury cars even with kids

    • Mark B
      Posted January 4, 2019 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      I have a house with a garden but neither of my neighbours do as they concreted over theirs.

      The point ? People make life choices. With choices comes responsibility. People need to take responsibility for those choices. End of !

  31. acorn
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Privatising social housing was economic stupidity, but classic neo-liberalism. I have never met a Local Government economist or accountant that thought otherwise.

    You have to make it expensive to hold land in private ownership. And gradually more expensive as public sector infrastructure makes a parcel of land more valuable, while it sits there adding no value to society in general, waiting to be inherited.

    You could rebate land that is used for social purposes and growing food. A type of Land Value Tax could replace Council Tax; Business Rates and Inheritance tax on property, at about 1% per year nominal on all land and structures.

    You have to applaud the way the Land Barrons who control the land market, for consistently keeping the property market on the edge of hyperinflation, by strictly controlling the supply side.

    • Edward2
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

      Local authorities made useless landlords.
      Poor quality builds where many build just a few decades ago are now demolished, high rise flats, badly run maintenance departments where it could take months to get simple repairs done, run down sink estates, huge rent arrears, long waiting lists, many homes left empty whilst waiting for refurbishment and illegal sub letting going on unchallenged.
      Housing Associations have improved many of the Local Authority’s dismal performances.

      • acorn
        Posted January 3, 2019 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        So, how long are the waiting lists now? If you have ever been a local Councillor, you would understand how all the deficiencies you profess occurred purely due to Thatcherite strangulation of local government housing finance, in order to force privatisation of their social housing stocks.

        If you ever want to shut down Tories spouting about social housing, just mention the name, Dame Shirley Porter.

        • rose
          Posted January 3, 2019 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

          The worst thing about council housing was the social apartheid.

          Moreover, people who owned their property could move at will to a better job but people in council houses couldn’t – only in theory, through a “transfer”.

          Maintenance was a problem too. It often didn’t get done, and people didn’t have pride in their own front door: they couldn’t paint it as they wanted as it wasn’t their front door.

        • Edward2
          Posted January 3, 2019 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

          I thought you might focus on waiting lists acorn
          Carefully avoiding every other useless local authority mismanagement of their housing departments.
          Love the historic “blame Thatcher” cliche

    • A different Simon
      Posted January 4, 2019 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Glad I’m not the only person who sees the need for Land Value Tax , or more accurately a Location Value Tax on residential land particularly in cities and towns .

      Adam Smith was a proponent (Annual Ground Rent) as was Winston Churchill .

      However , it should NOT be based on purchase price or the improvements but on the rentable value of the location itself (as distinct from the property on it) .

      This can be determined by comparing the rentable value of a similar property at the margins (where location value can be assumed to be = 0) . The difference in rentable value must be the rentable value of the location (as distinct from the rentable value of the property at the location ) .

      Recently , Texas shifted much of the burden of taxation from labour onto land . California did the opposite . Texas faired better economically and socially as a result .

      Without a location value tax to collect the economic rental value of a location for society , the mortgage lenders ultimately get to collect it – not for providing essential public services which confer value to the location but creating exogenous money out of thin air .

  32. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Off-topic, the Irish government anticipates that it may need “emergency aid” from the EU if the UK leaves the EU without any special or preferential trade deal:

    https://www.independent.ie/business/brexit/emergency-eu-aid-to-be-sought-for-brexit-fallout-37676966.html

    “Emergency EU aid to be sought for Brexit fallout”

    “‘No-deal’ UK withdrawal would lead to massive losses for farmers”

    I could say “Serves them right, they should not have allowed their government to be so damn stupid over the border”; but just saying that would be to ignore the reality that the UK government actually wants the Irish government to continue to be damn stupid over the border, to provide Theresa May with a pretext for doing what she in any case really wants to do, which is to keep the UK under swathes of EU law in perpetuity.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      NB – “… there will be no checks on farm produce along the Border with the North.”

    • Matt
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

      Denis..am just wondering how yer going to spend yer time when the dust settles

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted January 3, 2019 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        There’s no need for you to concern yourself about that.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted January 3, 2019 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

        Matt. Well at least Denis is interested in what is happening to the country and not just watching East Enders like a lot of people.

    • Chris
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      Why does an Australian Sky News commentator, Peta Credlin, understand the Brexit issue and the duplicity of our government better than many of our Tory MPs? This news item has been widely linked over the internet over the last few hours. Well worth listening to:

      “Peta Credlin on the Brexit deal:
      There’s a saying in politics that things are rarely as bad, or as good as they seem. And it’s usually true, but this Brexit fiasco is about as bad as it gets.

    • Original Richard
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

      I have not bought any French agricultural products since 1990 when French farmers set fire to one truckload of live British sheep, killing 219 of them as well as poisoning, slitting throats and dousing others with insecticide.

      If Ireland decides to continue with its current border policy, despite both Mr. Varadkar and Mr. Juncker saying there will be no hard border even if the UK leave without a deal, in order to provide Mrs. May and her remainer Parliamentary colleagues with an excuse for keeping the UK permanently in the backstop and hence as a never-ending vassal state of the EU, then I will not by buying any Irish products ever again.

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted January 4, 2019 at 8:46 am | Permalink

        Original Richard. I bought English sparkling wine instead of champagne last night to celebrate completion of our sale and very nice it was too. Being £10 cheaper was a bonus too and it made us feel good that we had supported our own.

  33. Den
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    The only way to satisfy the housing problem is to reduce the demand. Demand has been so high with the Mortgage interest so low, that higher prices were inevitable. Two events will curtail the demand.
    One, Bank Interest rates rising to long term average values at around 5.5% (over the previous 17 years, up to 2008). Then they were deliberately reduced to 0.5% by April 2009 thanks to Government and BoE QE, They remained down there until recently, when they have popped up to 0.75%. LOL. So those buying a house in the past decade have had no idea of what damage high rates of interest can do to their take home pay and their ability to pay down their mortgages. Higher rates will reduce demand, And lower prices to affordable levels again.
    As a consequence of Low Mortgage Interest rates, demand increased and drove up house prices so that increased borrowing was required. A year ago the average mortgage debt was £123,500 with an average mortgage rate of 2.6%. In 2007, the figures were around £100,000 and 5,5%. The problem was glaring Government in the face. Cheaper rates produced higher prices.
    TWO, Mass, unfettered immigration, first started by PM Blair in 200o and has been barely reduced since then. In 2000 the known population was around 59 Millions. In 2017 it was 65 Millions. Although the 6 M increase is not all down to immigration much of it is and those persons would need to be housed. Therefore strict control on immigration is essential to get a grip on the housing crisis (And more).
    So why is the Government NOT addressing it?

  34. Anonymous
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    The last thing the government wants is the housing crisis sorted.

    It would crash the economy (ponzi scheme.)

  35. ChrisS
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Outside of hotspots like London and the South East where most migrants want to settle, it is easier to get a mortgage than it was in the 1970s. There were no 95% mortgages and the rate we paid for our first mortgage in 1973 was 8% with a minimum deposit of 20%.

    The reality was that we were from a generation who were happy to get on the housing ladder with nothing. We started with secondhand furniture, an old car and very little else.

    I was an Independent Financial Adviser until I retired four years ago, having been in the business for more than 40 years. It has always been the case that almost all first-time buyers need two incomes to obtain the necessary loan to buy even a modest flat.

    In the last decade that I was in practice, investment clients frequently used to send their offspring to me to arrange their first mortgage.

    Even where the parents helped with the deposit, it was often impossible for them to borrow sufficient to buy, not because of low incomes, but because of other debt, repayments for which are deducted from income before lenders apply their income multiples.

    These were not youngsters who had been in trouble, but those having PCP loans for a shiny new car, often costing £300-£500 per month, credit card repayments and personal loans or interest-free payments on furniture ( from DFS, for example ).

    Some time ago I carried out an exercise in calculating mortgage repayments as a percentage of income for First Time Buyers in 1973 and 2016. I used ourselves as an example as we bought a 2 bedroom maisonette in Maidenhead in 1973. Guess what ?

    Mortgage payments in Maidenhead were marginally higher as a percentage of net income in 1973 than they were in 2016 but in real terms, the same property could have been bought in 2016 with a deposit of no more than 1/3rd of that required in 1973

    Put simply, today’s youngsters want everything now and they are finding out the hard way that you have to make sacrifices to get on the housing ladder, just like we did. Most of them are not prepared to do that so they continue renting. That is probably best for a large proportion of young people today because modern relationships are often transitory and break-ups cause immense difficulties and expense where a mortgage is involved.

    The property invariably has to be sold because, unsurprisingly, the lender will not release the departing partner from the loan unless the other has sufficient income to cover the mortgage on their own.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted January 4, 2019 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      Chris’s what an excellent post. I see it everywhere. All the youngsters have new flashy cars, numerous holidays abroad, designer clothes, nights out, the latest mobile pho es and frequent trips to the beauticians, nail bar and hairdressers. They don’t want a place that needs work done to it. They invariably want a nice new house where their nice new car looks good outside. They need to get realistic.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 4, 2019 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      . . . you have to make sacrifices . . .

      And that is about the nub of it.

      But government ‘wants to help’ and so gets involved and buggers up the market.

  36. Mark
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    The average number of people per home is 2.3. At first blush, immigration therefore gives rise to the need for a little over 100,000 new homes year to keep pace. However, immigration is dominated by students and the young, who tend to house/flat share, so the net demand on new homes from net immigration is much less than the numbers suggest – probably barely half that. It will be when these immigrant populations form families that the need for more housing will increase.

    Tough taxation of private landlords does not solve the problem created by the financial property bubble: it merely serves to push rents up and the standards of property maintenance down, neither of which is in the interests of tenants. Rent caps encourage the subdivision of properties, again to the disadvantage of tenants.

    We need some unwinding of the property bubble before it would be wise for renters to seek to purchase homes in larger numbers. Otherwise, they take on a potentially unsustainable debt (unless it is subsidised by artificially low interest rates, which prolongs the problem), which will cramp their future lifestyles in terms of being able to afford a family or a pension. High house prices are a financial phenomenon, not one driven by any fundamental physical shortage.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted January 4, 2019 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      Mark, I suggest your paragraph 1 is out of date. Birth and home language for school children already show this.

  37. Ronald Olden
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    The housing shortage, extortionate prices and rents are SOLELY caused by demand outstripping supply.

    It doesn’t matter whether the properties are owner occupied, owned by private landlords or by social landlords.

    The one and only way to solve the problem, is to build more housing and introduce heavy tax penalties for keeping property empty and for land banking.

    • Steve
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

      Ronald Olden

      I agree to a certain extent, but suggest that the core problem is there are simply too many people in the country. The fact of the matter is we’re overpopulated.

      Successive governments were warned about this happening, did they listen ? No, we were dismissed as fascists, racists and just about any kind of ‘phobe’ you can think of.

      Thirst for votes being prioritised over demographics and social fairness. Now it’s causing governments a headache, good, we told you so.

  38. a-tracy
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    John, if conservatives don’t want to build social housing without the resident having some skin in the property why not have socialised house building projects with 40 year mortgages from the State (that would otherwise be used to build social housing), 3 bed terraced type properties with a master bedroom in the empty loft space, with small easy to maintain back gardens and parking at the front (otherwise they just park dangerously), or apartments, with lower monthly repayments with secured ownership at the end of the 40 years, able to sell and move around. Most working class people that I know have the main aim to pay up their mortgage by the time they retire so that they have much-reduced outgoings because the State pension is now so poor and their private pensions are worthless in many cases only just covering the Council tax and gas bill!

    Not these ridiculous £500,000 to £600,000 tiny box flats you’re currently supporting in London, this is just ridiculous, the residents can’t afford the rental half without a full time tenant, they won’t be able to sell them when they want to move out and they are overpriced by a massive margin to the benefit of the big builders, with the bosses creaming off millions of pounds. This is just another ponzi bom* waiting to go off.

  39. David Price
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    So, with all the new high density dormitories being built on top of land reclaimed from industrial, retail and office properties, where is the infrastructure to support all these new people and where are they all going to work?

    Is everyone supposed to commute into the city for a job?

  40. George Brooks
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Andy is right, old age is very much a contributory factor in the housing shortage, and the effect is increased when coupled with the advancement of medical science but we may well get some relief from this quarter in the years ahead.

    Those of us who are ‘North of 75’ had the advantage of being brought up on a frugal diet and lots of exercise. Rationing ensured no salt saturated made-up meals washed down with sugary drinks were available and to get about you had to walk it, bus it or bike it.

    The next two generations have had the temptation of the most appalling packaged food designed to save time in preparation and flavoured with large quantities of sugar and salt to encourage one to eat more and more. It is therefore hardly surprising that obesity followed by diabetes is now approaching epidemic proportions within the UK population and it is this that may reduce our average survival age by about a decade.

    Every year the same headline comes up announcing that the number of new houses built has fallen short of the target by one or two hundred thousand and the net population has increased by twice that figure. Stabilise the number living in this tiny island and the housing shortage will evaporate and as it does the affordability of a house will increase.

    The true cause is no more than population growth and that comes from both immigration and birth rate both of which have to be controlled. With luck and a fair wind we should be able in a few months time start to get immigration under control, so now is the time to reduce the size of a family. In the 50s and 60s two children or may be three was the average but today it is nearer four and five and in some groups higher

    The problem needs to be tackled at source and not tickled around the edges with taxes and controls

  41. Denis Cooper
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Great news for the citizens of the Irish Republic, their Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has just promised that “no one will go hungry” in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

    https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/no-one-will-go-hungry-month-of-march-set-aside-for-dail-to-deal-with-hard-brexit-legislation-895394.html

    If only we British had a Prime Minister who was similarly careful for our interests, who would make sure that vital supplies flowed as freely into the country as now rather than ordering her customs officials to unnecessarily impede their importation.

    Irish preparations are well advanced, including the deployment of more armed border guards to defend the Republic against the potentially hostile power to the north:

    https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/brexit/hard-brexit-warning-of-reinforced-antiterror-units-at-border-in-ireland-37650146.html

    Although that will not be as easy as defending East Germany from the fascists in the west, because as yet the Irish government has no plans to fortify the border:

    https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/we-are-not-preparing-for-a-hard-border-between-ni-and-ireland-in-event-of-no-deal-brexit-varadkar-893399.html

    “Leo Varadkar explained that if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, it would still be aligned to EU customs and regulations as things currently stand.”

    Well, it’s taken some time, but he’s finally grasped that. Goods which did not need to be inspected at the Irish border before, for more than a quarter of a century since the creation of the EU Single Market, will not suddenly need to be inspected the day after we have left the EU; and if there are duties to be paid or any other new functions to be performed it can no doubt be arranged that they are carried out away from the border.

    “He said problems would only arise if the UK decided to make changes.

    “If the UK crashed out of the European Union at the end of March they would still be aligned on customs and regulations,” he said.

    “So the problem would only arise if they decided in some way to change their customs and regulations – and that’s where it could get difficult.

    “But that is something obviously we are going to have to talk to them about in a no-deal scenario.”

    Well, Mr Varadkar, I suppose you could try to talk to us about it in the hope of finding a more sensible alternative solution, as suggested here about a year ago specifically for that land border on the island of Ireland which you like to pretend does not even exist, but in fact a year before that in more general terms – from January 17th 2017:

    “I think we may need UK legislation to guarantee to the EU governments that our exporters into their markets will always comply with their requirements, but with its application restricted to exporters to the EU and not affecting the great majority of UK businesses which do not intend to serve those foreign markets.”

    But then, Mr Varadkar, that has been suggested to your counterpart Mrs May and she was not interested; her idea was and still is to keep the whole of the UK and its economy under as much EU law as she can possibly contrive, with your assistance.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 3, 2019 at 5:57 pm | Permalink
      • Stred
        Posted January 4, 2019 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        He must read Sir JR’s blog Dennis. He’s also decided to put his customs posts on the Irish border to the world instead of NI, as suggested here.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 4, 2019 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      “But that is something obviously we are going to have to talk to them about in a no-deal scenario.”

      Sorry, Leo I would like to pass on that one for a while. Got a better offer from across the Atlantic. Seems there is someone that actually likes us !

  42. Javelin
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    2 million immigrants in London might have something to do with it. Duh.

  43. norman
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    JR – Off topic, but sounds like the dead hand of Defra Europhilia has got to Michael Gove.
    https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-46749572

  44. Christine
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    The system is broken. Why should one group of people get subsided housing paid for by the rest of the country when it’s not even based on their income? You get the perverse situation where people like that Labour MP earning £75k+ are getting subsidised housing. You also get lots of sub-letting. To overcome this ALL rented accommodation should be charged at the market rate and then lower income tenants claim a top-up via housing benefit/Universal Credit. This would encourage those who can afford it to move into their own homes freeing up social housing for the least well off and also reduce sub-letting.

  45. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    No one who has come to this country from elsewhere should qualify for assistance with their housing costs of any sort and I include tax deductions or stamp duty allowances in that.
    Anyone coming to this country does not need to benefit from anything that the indigenous population are offered, migration is a difficult process, we do not need to help.

  46. Mr Ison
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    It’s not 2 million immigrants in London who tax and spend though, i’m looking forward to the depriver fashions of political parties falling away with great haste once they realise it’s not in the national interest to retard development.

  47. Mr Ison
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    There is a good chance that once MP’s decide that to Leave means self-respect we’ll see a swathe of the nation with diagnosable PTSD.

    Why wouldn’t there be after 40 years of Heathist oppression?

  48. Biggles High Flyer
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    Benn looks disappointed on Sky TV (minutes ago) that the war in Syria is over. He should not be so sad. The MoD is nationalised. Just because a war isn’t coming just now, if he just waits a bit,
    4 will come together

    • Mark B
      Posted January 4, 2019 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      Not like his late father is he ?

      Quite liked Benn Snr. RIP

  49. Anonymous
    Posted January 3, 2019 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Slightly off topic but not really…

    Not one person I know is fooled by the Navy task force sent to intercept migrants in the Channel.

    “Taxi Service.”

    Everyone’s saying it.

    Why does your Government continue to insult our intelligence ? We’d have more respect if they just said “We’re doing it so lump it.”

    My MP signed the no confidence letter and has been a Brexit stalwart. Such a shame as I cannot bring myself to vote Tory again.

    Their reputation is in tatters on this and many things.

  50. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted January 4, 2019 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    There’s a few things that you have omitted to mention:

    (1) Ultra-low interest rates have contributed to the huge rise in house prices, which has favoured the ultra-rich at the expense of the middle classes. Base rate should be raised steadily until it is above inflation, dampening demand.

    (2) Minimal immigration and the rapid introduction of robotics and AI would also contribute to lessening demand for housing.

    (3) SME builders are less likely to hoard land than the big boys. They should be given opportunities to build on brownfield sites and in hamlets, in order to make them financially viable.

    (4) If we don’t want subsidised housing, why not privatise ALL rented accommodation, selling off social housing either to sitting tenants or to a landlord. Any subsidies should be paid to individuals and families, but only for as long as they are needed, and not tied to particular properties.

    • jerry
      Posted January 4, 2019 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      In response to @Lindsay McDougall;

      1/. Are you talking about just Mortgage rates or wider interest rates, if the latter, whilst that might help the property market would it not hurt other sectors, such as the pre-existing personal credit card bubble?

      2/. No need for AI, nor the wider problems it brings. There is no shortage of humans to do such work, even without immigration, the problem is getting people to accept that someone has to do such work, and for a 35-40 hour week.

      3/. I used to know a couple of SME builders who were self made millionaires, both made their fortunes building those 1950-1970s era Council estates, and did so legitimately…

      4/. Who, other than the private landlords & speculators, say they do not want Council/Social housing.

  51. Peter Parsons
    Posted January 4, 2019 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    No mention anywhere of the report this week released by the Centre for Policy Studies which highlighted that build rates have declined every decade since the 1960s, down from 3.6 million in the 60s to a projected below 1.5 million (for the first 8 years the actual figure is 1.2 million) in the current decade.

    Relating this to population, in the 1960s we build 1 home for every 14 people, now it’s 1 for every 43.

    As for rent controls, talking about an idea with zero detail about its possible implementation, as the original article does, is not useful or helpful. A rent control policy of “you can’t put up the rent by more than 25% a year” is radically different to “you can’t put up the rent by more than 1% per year” and the original article makes no mention of whether the proposed policy would be either of these or something else.

  52. Mr Ison
    Posted January 4, 2019 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    You’d have thought furnishing landlords with a significant portion of GDP as policy, be it via benefits or by diminishing the ability of companies to pay employees sufficiently to buy a home would be recognised as a mistake.

    Benefits to landlords, it’d be better to build homes that are modern and save energy with peppercorn rents, the treasury could invest in assets rather than landlords.

    Companies don’t like to pay for a gamed housing market, i saw that as i moved up to the cheaper, and appalling, North.

    And again as the Southern bubble thought they could boost property prices a little more by moving it to Malta and coercing employees out of TUPE.

    It’s a sort of stupidity, as to how prevalent it is…

  53. Edwardm
    Posted January 4, 2019 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    As you rightly say, Barber’s proposals would be self defeating. Selling council houses was hugely popular to the residents as they could then take pride in their homes – many council estates improved as a consequence.
    Instead a good start would be to manage demand by having no more net immigration. In fact having a decade or two of negative immigration would greatly help. I do not want to see more of our countryside built over, and with lots of small houses crammed together, with insufficient parking and inadequate roads, and consequent overloading of the wider road system.

  54. Arnie from Newington
    Posted January 7, 2019 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    “The S419 Tax changes will push many landlords with buy-to-let mortgages up a tax band, despite their income not increasing, as tax will be applied to turnover instead of profit.”

    This is the worst thing about the S419 legislation and very unfair.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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