The Housing Minister has said he thinks it is sensible to sell social homes when they become empty in expensive areas, and use the money to build more social homes in less expensive streets not too far away. His critics say this amounts to “social cleansing”, driving social housing tenants out of fashionable areas.
If the state does do this, it will be behaving like the rest of society. The high priced parts of central London have already been awarded to the rich by the market. Most people paying UK taxes even on well paid jobs are priced out of the central districts. If they want anything other than a very small flat they need to buy elsewhere, so high are house prices.
You could argue this either way. Does that it mean it makes sense to sell social homes when they become available, in an effort to try to get the prices down a bit in these very dear areas? Wouldn’t it free much needed state money to do more good at a more sensible price nearby? Or does it mean you just add state “social cleansing “to market “social cleansing”?
Maybe the idea of social cleansing is a silly one. All my life Mayfair has been very expensive, banned to most of us as a possible place to live. Just as you have to be very good at football to play for Manchester United, or have to pass elite exams to be an NHS doctor, so you have to be very rich to live in a house or large flat in central London. It was ever thus. One way or another you have to ration access to Mayfair housing, as there is not enough for all who would like it to have it. I cannot see that state allocation would be better than market forces. What are your thoughts?
The idea that social housing landlords can sell high priced property when empty to pay for more replacements in cheaper locations is not a new one. It also rests on the assumption that sufficient high value property becomes available, as the scheme rightly assumes the social landlord can only sell once the property has been willingly vacated by the former tenant.