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Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

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Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by Ivan on Sat Jan 12, 2013 5:47 pm

The Housing Act of 1919 made housing a national responsibility, and local authorities were given the task of developing new housing and rented accommodation where it was needed by working people. The Housing Act of 1924, passed by the UK’s first ever Labour government, gave substantial grants to local authorities in response to the acute housing shortages of those years. Local councils built a total of 1.1 million homes between 1919 and 1939.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, those people who could not afford to buy a house could go on a waiting list for a council house, and if they had children, they probably wouldn’t have to wait long. In the new towns built after the Second World War, a variety of housing was available at reasonable rents, and plenty of private houses were built for those able to buy.

Then the Tories ruined everything. When they controlled the Greater London Council of the late 1960s, Horace Cutler, the housing chairman, created a scheme to sell council houses to tenants at a discount. Cutler disagreed with the concept of local authorities as providers of housing and supported a free market approach. 7,000 houses were sold to their tenants during 1970, but that figure soared to more than 45,000 in 1972. Sales were not allowed during the Labour administration of the GLC in the mid-1970s but picked up again once Cutler became the council leader in 1977.

Cutler was close to Thatcher (a London MP) who made the right to buy council housing a Tory Party policy nationally. After she became Prime Minister in May 1979, the legislation to implement ‘the Right to Buy’ was passed in the Housing Act 1980. It gave council tenants the chance to buy their council house at a discounted price, depending on how long they had been living in the house, with the proviso that if they sold their house before a minimum period had expired they would have to pay back a proportion of the discount.

Council house sales proved extremely popular to the tenants and provided a win-win scenario for the Tories. Naomi Klein (‘The Shock Doctrine’, p.135) explains:-

“Britain’s public housing, or council estates, which Thatcher opposed on philosophical grounds, believing that the state had no role to play in the housing market. The council estates were filled with the type of people who wouldn’t vote Tory because it wasn’t in their economic self-interest. Thatcher was convinced that if they could be brought into the market, they would start to identify with the interests of the wealthier people who opposed redistribution. With that in mind, she offered strong incentives to the residents of public housing to buy their flats at reduced rates. Those who could became homeowners, while those who couldn’t faced rents that were almost twice as high as before. It was a divide-and-conquer strategy, and it worked: the renters continued to oppose Thatcher, the streets of Britain’s large cities saw a visible increase in homelessness, but polls showed that more than half of the new owners did switch their party affiliation to the Tories.”

200,000 council houses were sold to their tenants in 1982 alone, and by 1987, more than a million council houses in Britain had been sold. Proceeds of the sales were paid to the local authorities, but they were restricted to spending the money to reduce their debt until it was cleared, rather than being able to spend it on building more homes. The effect was to reduce the council housing stock, especially in areas where property prices were high, such as London and the south-east of England.

Under the short but turbulent Tory government of Ted Heath, the average price of a house in the UK increased from £4,377 in 1970 to £8,395 in 1973. However, a crazy inflationary Tory budget introduced by Nigel Lawson in 1988 had the opposite effect. Interest rates soared to as high as 15% and some people saw their mortgage payments double in the course of a year. Many council tenants who gave up their security of tenure and bought their homes ended up losing them because they couldn’t keep up the payments; in 1991 alone, 75,000 properties were repossessed. For the first time in peacetime, house prices fell and continued to do so for seven years. The average price of a house in 1996 was £51,367, having fallen from £62,782 in 1989.

When Labour returned to power in 1997, it reduced the discount available to tenants in those areas where there was severe pressure on the housing stock; this included almost the whole of London. Then ‘the Right to Buy’ rules were changed in 2005 so that five years' tenancy was required for new occupiers to qualify, and properties purchased could no longer immediately be placed on the open market should the owner decide to sell. Such owners then had to approach their previous landlord (the local council or a housing association) and offer them “first right of refusal”. As of April 2012, the current government has increased ‘the Right to Buy’ discount to a maximum of £75,000 or 60% of the house value (70% for a flat), depending on which is lower.

The Labour governments of Blair and Brown did not have a good record on house building, but after the earlier Tory destruction of our social housing stock, they probably could see little point in replenishing it, just for a future Tory regime to use as bribes for votes yet again. Selling off council homes and not replacing them has caused a shortage of places available to rent. That in turn has resulted in much higher rents, which many working and non-working people are unable to pay, so they’ve needed to get housing benefit. It wasn’t very long ago that MPs were saying £23,000 a year was needed as a second home allowance for just one person, but now this despicable government is capping benefits without bringing in rent controls.

In Westminster alone, there are over four thousand households with rents above the benefit caps planned by the Tories and their Lib Dem stooges. Up to 82,000 households could be made homeless, in most cases people working in low paid jobs in London. They will be forced to move far out of the capital, in what is in effect social cleansing. Many of these low income people on housing benefit keep central London running in a variety of ways, yet the government seems quite happy about wealthier areas becoming rich ghettoes, with people in low paid menial jobs travelling miles every day to get to them. How does that convince people that work pays? The real problem is that central London housing and living costs are too high and central London wages are too low.

Maybe a progressive government could either move more of its functions out to the rest of the UK or introduce a minimum wage for London of around £15 an hour? I’m sure the preferred Tory alternative would be if the homeless get jobs ‘in service’. As the Tories try to rush this country back into the Victorian era, instead of moving out of London, those people who members of the cabinet regard as ‘plebs’ could occupy the attics and cellars of their ‘masters’. It’s no wonder that the Tories have done their damnedest to price working class children out of a university education.

The housing benefit system in effect transfers £20 billion a year of taxpayers’ money to private landlords. That money could build 400,000 new council houses a year (at an approximate cost of £50,000 per house) on council owned land. Renting these out at reasonable rates could provide a 10% return on investment for the taxpayer. It would also have the effect of reducing rents in the private rental market and increasing the money supply amongst the poor.

From 1995 until 2008, the UK economy had its longest period of uninterrupted growth in our history. During prosperous times, some lenders were issuing mortgages of up to 125% of the market value of a property and lending people five or six times their annual income. All this contributed to house price inflation, and by 2009 the average price of a property had risen to £160,159, nearly three times as much as in 1996. (All those people who claim that inheritance tax liability is “taxing hard-earned money that’s already been taxed” are being disingenuous, since much of it has accrued merely because of house price inflation. But that’s another story and another argument…). The issue here is that wages did not keep pace with house prices, so now fewer people can afford to buy, there are more people needing to rent, so up goes the price of renting still further. Isn’t it time to cap what landlords can charge, especially in places like London, rather than make people homeless?

This country needs public housing projects to build homes for rent with public money, along with some form of covenant to prevent them from being sold by a future generation of Tory asset-strippers. We would save a fortune in public money as housing benefit wouldn’t be going into the pockets of rent barons. We could also take people off benefits to help build these houses in the first place.

Those who think that ‘the Right to Buy’ was a good idea should think through what the repercussions have been. Commercially and socially valuable council assets have been, and are being, sold at below their market value or replacement cost. It gave a discount to some people buying their homes, but not to others who had rented privately and bought on the open market. The shortage of social housing stock has caused homelessness, enabled private landlords to massively increase what they charge and seen billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money transferred to them in housing benefits. Selling council houses satisfies the Tories’ ideological hatred of all things public and helps them to divide and rule, but it does nothing for social cohesion. Council houses were built from 1919 onwards to give security of tenure to those who couldn’t afford to buy a house, but like so much else that they privatise, the Tories sold them for party political advantage and as part of their ongoing destruction of the fabric of the nation.

Sources used:-

http://www.parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/transformingsociety/towncountry/towns/overview/councilhousing/

http://econ.economicshelp.org/2010/02/economy-of-1970s.html

http://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/indices-nationwide-national-inflation.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_Buy

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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by boatlady on Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:03 pm

Couple of points occur on rereading this

1) I really don't think the Right to Buy was altogether bad - what caused the problems was firstly giving such a huge discount (don't know why they couldn't have been sold at market value, with perhaps a longer repayment period if required) and secondly not allowing the proceeds to be invested into improving and increasing the social housing stock. I think Blue mentioned that many working class people, becoming more prosperous, wanted to buy property, and there was a positive effect on some of the better council estates of all the influx of new front doors, double glazing etc - raised the bar for everyone, and could in the end have resulted in an across-the-board improvement in housing stock. I was quite young when the right to buy came in, and I know councils were building less desirable housing at the time, so an injection of cash from right to buy take up could have been useful, and might have saved us from some of the nightmare high rise developments. Just a thought

2) In relation to the social cleansing of London, I think our masters probably have in mind some such solution as was applied in South Africa - build compounds in undesirable areas for the families of the workforce, while requiring the workforce to 'live in' on the estates of their employers - I'm sure most London houses have a little attic space or the like where one c ould store one's houseboy and cleaner when not requiring their services.
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:49 pm

QUOTE Ivan: " .... a crazy inflationary Tory budget introduced by Nigel Lawson in 1988...."

Inflationary because it removed MIRAS (Mortgage Interest relieved at source) which had previously allowed mortgage interest to be a claim for tax relief.

First. Let's kill all the Chancellors of the Exchequer.
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by Ivan on Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:40 am

The legacy of the 'right to buy' plan

by Deborah Orr

How shocking it is that home ownership is currently at its lowest since 1987. The introduction of ‘right to buy’ for council tenants in 1980 was intended to make Britain "a nation of property owners". No government has done much to interfere in the course the property market has taken since. It's fair to say this policy can now be retrospectively analysed to get a fairly clear picture of what it has achieved. Not its actual aim, unfortunately.

But it can boast that it has made other changes. Rented council property is simultaneously more stigmatised and more in demand. Private rents are very high, and sometimes paid for under housing benefit, which is more expensive than the price of providing housing such as that which was sold off so cheaply. And a property market with such problems of supply and demand, that even the bursting of the biggest property-price bubble Britain has ever known, has not resulted in the painful deflation that would have to happen were Britain to get back on track to becoming "a nation of property owners”. And Westminster council is putting up homeless families in £700-a-night hotels, because it has no alternative now that housing benefit is capped.

Right to buy hasn't gone terribly well, I'd say.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/feb/09/legacy-right-to-buy?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487

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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:37 pm

"Right to buy hasn't gone terribly well, I'd say."

Well that depends upon who is talking. Thatcher introduced the concept in order to consign all ideas of State-owned housing for the under-privileged to the dustbin of history. Subsequent generations of Britons have grasped the notion of home-ownership like some Holy Grail.

House-prices today are almost at the same level they were pre-Credit-Crunch. Try to find someone of your acquaintance who would genuinely prefer to live in rented property.

http://money.uk.msn.com/mortgages-and-homes/what-can-you-rent-for-1000
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:09 am

A glimmer of enlightenment?

Bournemouth Borough Council is to build 50 new homes in the Northwest of the town.

http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/10258560.__6_5m_scheme_to_build_50_new_council_houses_in_Kinson/?ref=mc
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by boatlady on Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:31 pm

Some of the comments are enough to make your toes curl though - not a universally popular move among the Bournemouth litterati
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:22 pm

Bournemouth is one of those locations which has ONLY EVER returned Conservative Members to Parliament throughout its entire existence.
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Apr 07, 2013 7:49 pm

Those most critical of Welfare Benefits payments don't seem to have realised:

That the principal beneficiaries of e.g. Housing Benefit are not the otherwise homeless, but private landlords (Tory to the last bank statement).

That the principal beneficiaries of e.g. Child Allowance are the Banks into which such benefits are paid.

That the main recipients of Care for the Elderly are Private Limited Companies - and that the same applies to current proposed changes to the GP system.

In all of the above, last in the queue comes the individual Claimant.

The parallel is with the Victorian setup of a "Company Store" as the only place you could spend what was given.
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by boatlady on Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:43 pm

Introducing 'market forces' into the social economy (care, social housing, health etc) was the beginning of the end in my view.
I remember, going to social work interviews and being asked to say what I thought were the 'benefits' of this - lied through my teeth to get a job, but could never see a good side really.
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by boatlady on Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:46 pm

Here's a link to a very sobering article about the (possibly unintended) effects of the benefit cap, loss of social housing and in short the whole bloody mess we find ourselves in - no polemic here - just the facts:-

http://t.co/59qforTVek

This is a short piece and well worth reading
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Jun 16, 2013 12:46 pm

The Sunday Papers provide a rich harvest of blame for the Country's financial situation. 

Baby boomers
Gordon Brown
Tax dodgers
Immigrants
Benefits dependants
The EU
Foreign Aid
Expenses fiddlers
Failed Education system
Failing NHS
Greedy landlords
Greedy Banks
 Legal Aid
Unaffordable newbuild
Planning controls

Choose any one from fifteen, or all 15
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by boatlady on Sun Jun 16, 2013 8:57 pm

You forgot the Unions


Actually, it seems to me the problem is that ordinary working class people can no longer earn enough to live on, and so the answer should be either to raise wages or lower the prices of necessities (housing, transportation, food etc) so that people can earn enough to live on.

For those who can't compete on the labour market (either because there are no jobs, or they are not able because of illness or disability) there should be provision of an adequate income to enable them at least to take part in the circulation of money, which helps to keep the economy active.

Where people lack the skills to compete, maybe there should be access to proper training opportunities leading to respectable qualifications.

I really don't understand why any of this is so hard.
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by polyglide on Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:15 pm

The reason everything seems so hard is that very few people have exactly the same idea of what is fair and what is desireable.

There is also the problem of the have and those who have not.

Many people are advantaged from birth, others have to fight every step of the way, some have problems that gives them no chance in life,

Some overcome difficulties that others could not.

There is no straight foreward answer to life in general and this problem in particular.

The most realistic manner that this problem could have been dealt with from the start is that every dwelling for each different type of familly should have been exactly the same,

NO mansions with land stretching for miles with countless rooms most of which are unoccupied, no one able to own more than one home and the rent paid for those not able to own a home made according to the circumstances.

There are thousands of unoccupied dwellings in England and this should be the first thing tackled.

Wether a council tennant is allowed to purchase does not alter matters regarding the availability, it just means they then have an opportunity to own their home, they would still have to live somewhere if not in a council house.
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Jun 25, 2013 5:50 pm

"There are thousands of unoccupied dwellings in England ...."



Indeed there are.  This "des res" in Sandbanks, Poole has just sold for £3.5 million.  It will now be knocked down for re-development.
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by boatlady on Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:05 pm

I just think everyone should have a safe place to live, enough to eat, and education for their children.

If there's extra after that, let the greedy people compete for it.
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by Ivan on Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:41 pm

Labour councils are building twice as many homes as Tory ones.
 
Each Labour authority has built an average of 438 social housing properties over the past three years - compared to just 216 in Tory council areas and just 199 in areas run by Lib Dems.
 
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/labour-councils-building-twice-many-2011481
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:42 pm

boatlady wrote:I just think everyone should have a safe place to live, enough to eat, and education for their children.

If there's extra after that, let the greedy people compete for it.

That Utopian ideal could theoretically be achieved by truly "fair shares for all". Government-built communal accommodation, with communal kitchens providing nourishing food in popular dining-rooms and communal laundries issuing standard free clothing. Children would be trained to perform socially-useful essential functions.

The cost would be recovered from greedy Capitalists by just taxation, so why wouldn't people choose such a course?
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by boatlady on Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:47 am

People are individuals, and will I guess always want to exercise choice even in quite small ways (like choosing a Big Mac over a much cheaper and more nourishing bowl of home made vegetable soup or wearing stupid shoes that cause corns rather than a sturdy pair of leather lace-ups).
I guess I'm heading towards the notion of a minimum guaranteed income - enough to live safely and with dignity while exercising choice over the details - within a framework of State provided eucation, housing and health care that guarantees every person the opportunity to aspire and achieve beyond their immediate circumstances if they want to, while not penalising those who choose not to.
Currently, for example, it seems those who choose to seek a living from unskilled manual labour (which we cannot run society without) are being savagely penslised for this choice in the form of derisory wages, inadequate housing, insecure employment and often denial of good education and health care for their families and themselves, while being treated with contempt by the very agencies that are supposed to be helping them (DWP for one)
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by tlttf on Tue Jul 02, 2013 12:38 pm

Ivan wrote:Labour councils are building twice as many homes as Tory ones.
 
Each Labour authority has built an average of 438 social housing properties over the past three years - compared to just 216 in Tory council areas and just 199 in areas run by Lib Dems.
 
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/labour-councils-building-twice-many-2011481


Not quite true there is it Ivan?


Can Labour-run councils take credit for building social housing?
22 April, 2013 - 11:36 -- Federica Cocco
According to Hilary Benn, in the next three years, Labour authorities will build five times as many social homes as Tory authorities. But is this a result of their policies or are there other factors involved?

"If you look around the country, in which areas are more social housing being built now, the answer is in Labour controlled local authorities."

Hilary Benn, BBC Sunday Politics

This article was updated on 24 April 2013

With local elections just around the corner, Labour's Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary Hilary Benn took to the airwaves to trumpet Labour councils' record when it comes to social housing provision. But does his claim stack up?



http://fullfact.org/factchecks/Labour_councils_social_housing_growth-28888

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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by Ivan on Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:34 pm

tlttf wrote:-
Not quite true there is it Ivan?
I’m afraid that it is. We leave the promulgation of lies to you and your fellow right-wingers. Rolling Eyes
 
Quoting your source speaks for itself: “Looking at the 20 councils which saw the biggest increases in their social housing starts in 2011/12, most were Labour controlled (13 out of 20).” Which part of that can't you understand?
 
In a desperate attempt to rubbish the achievements of some Labour councils, your article resorts to percentages, not the number of houses built, which is misleading. Take a hypothetical example. If a Tory council increased its house build from 10 houses to 50, that would be a 400% increase. If a Labour council increased its house build from 100 to 200, that would only be a 100% increase, even though four times as many houses would be being built. People are interested in the quantity of new homes, not percentages.
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:15 pm

As a result, presumably, of the constant Tory pin-prick assaults on the Common Man, a new tag has emerged to describe the interminable "measures" of this Tory-led Coalition:

Diversion Politics

A constant stream of innovation designed to distract the Public from the bloody mess they've got us into.
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by Ivan on Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:51 pm

Political cowardice stops us from solving our wretched housing crisis
 
Extracts from an article by Will Hutton:-
 
"British housing policy is a mess. Our towns and cities are breaking down into ghettos. Leeds has more than 100 streets in which students in multi-occupied houses outnumber other residents. Blackpool has neighbourhoods dominated by housing benefit claimants. The most desirable parts of London are out of reach for all except the world's super-rich.

Even the declared aims of policy are not being met. Owner occupation is stagnating at around 15 million homes, falling as a proportion of total households to 64%, the lowest for 25 years. Social housing is in gentle decline. In some local authorities, a third of former council houses, sold under right-to-buy legislation, are winding up, crazily, in the hands of buy-to-let landlords, who charge half as much rent again as the former local authority landlords.

Not that the government intends to challenge it. Almost every dial on housing policy is on the wrong setting. There will be no property revaluation under its watch. The council tax was again frozen in the last spending review, subsidised from general taxation. The discount on council house purchase has been enlarged to 50% so that in effect the remaining council stock is to be given away. Local authority budgets are so reduced that new council house building has dwindled to almost zero. Letting agencies are to be left to regulate themselves and won't be required to declare their fees transparently.

The government will build no homes itself: it confines itself to measures such as build to rent or Help to Buy, which George Osborne only endorsed when he was assured it would help create rising house prices and a feelgood factor for Tory voters."

 
For the full article:-
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jul/28/government-bold-act-housing-crisis-hutton
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by methought on Sat Aug 17, 2013 1:27 pm

People who chose to rent rather than take up their right to buy are now being penalised by the bedroom tax and the decisions of housing associations to do up properties and chuck out tenants.
 
The right to a home for life is going the same way as the notion of a job for life.
 
Disposable Britain is disposing of local identity and community.
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by Ivan on Sat Aug 17, 2013 3:21 pm

methought. Great post, spot on and so succinct. thumbsup
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by Ivan on Sat Sep 28, 2013 10:35 pm

As I said in the opening post of this thread, those who believe that ‘the Right to Buy’ was a good idea should think through what the repercussions have been. Over the last thirty years it has resulted in the transference of much of the public housing stock into the private rented sector – which is precisely what the Tories wanted in order to satisfy their ideological hatred of all things public. Now one-third of ex-council homes are owned by rich landlords. In one London borough almost half of ex-council properties are now sub-let to tenants.
 
During the peak years of ‘the Right to Buy’, Ian Gow was Thatcher’s housing minister. He was given his comeuppance by the IRA in 1990, but is it purely coincidence that his son Charles and his wife now own at least 40 ex-council properties? Other wealthy investors own scores of ex-council properties via offshore holding firms in tax havens in the Channel Islands. Meanwhile five million people are waiting for social housing in Britain; all part of Thatcher’s dire legacy.
 
Full details:-
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/right-to-buy-housing-shame-third-ex-council-1743338#.UkF-So2oXhA
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by tlttf on Sun Nov 17, 2013 10:50 am

The reality of who built the most homes. Was it Thatcher or Blair/Brown, oh dear!!

Who built more council houses - Margaret Thatcher or New Labour?
12 November, 2013 - 12:33 -- Emily Craig
house
In the UK's property market, there's a severe shortage of affordable homes. There was a time when we were building hundreds of thousands of council houses each year. When did the pace of construction slow?

UPDATE: This article has been updated with more information on housing association builds and the timeframe in question.

The lack of affordable housing is a chronic problem - on this, all the political parties are agreed. But when it comes to understanding the cause of the crisis, there's no such consensus.

http://fullfact.org/factchecks/council_house_building_margaret_thatcher_labour_government-29270

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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Nov 17, 2013 12:27 pm

November 2011. The £500m Get Britain Building programme was announced as part of the Government’s Housing Strategy for England, and aims to unlock locally-backed stalled sites with planning permission and deliver up to 12,000 new homes.

http://www.homesandcommunities.co.uk/get-britain-building

Two Years later

About £1.3bn of Taxpayers' money has been paid to local authorities through this scheme according to the National Audit Office, but 93% of Councils in England have not built a single home with it. Only 1,427 homes have been built or are under construction. 214 councils admit the bonus had been applied to general services.

Marie Woolf, The Sunday Times 17 Nov 2013
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by Ivan on Sun Nov 17, 2013 2:13 pm

tlttf. What was the point of copy/pasting this?
 
UPDATE: This article has been updated with more information on housing association builds and the timeframe in question.
 
Can’t you show more respect for people who read your offerings by at least checking what it is that you’re posting? Rolling Eyes 
 
Did you know that Harold Wilson closed more coal mines in the 1960s than Thatcher did in the 1980s? I’m sure you did. It’s one of those soundbites which ‘The Daily Mail’ and dishonest Tories like to peddle, knowing full well that its ‘truth’ doesn’t start to tell the whole story. There were more pits in the 1960s, when unprofitable ones were shut, when unemployment was low, when wages were higher in factories and the pits just couldn’t get the staff. At a time of mass unemployment which she’d gone out of her way to create, Thatcher shut bigger and viable pits for political reasons.
 
The same applies to your disingenuous attempt to portray Thatcher as the champion of our public housing stock. Why haven’t you told us what the net effect of her policies was – one million fewer council houses in 1987 than in 1980? Instead of posting meaningless tripe about an ‘update’, why didn’t you quote from your source the fact that the number of council houses under construction declined steadily during Thatcher's era? That answers your question "when did the pace of construction slow?"
 
Why didn’t you quote the fact that between 1997 and 2010, some 350,000 housing association dwellings were built?  How strange that you omitted to quote the sentence: “If we look at both housing association homes and council houses, Labour built more affordable properties in 2009 than the Conservatives did in each year between 1987 and 1990.” Oh dear! How sad that some facts spoil your squalid piece of propaganda! What a Face 
 
As I said in the opening posting (which was probably too long for the attention span of some people): “The Labour governments of Blair and Brown did not have a good record on house building, but after the earlier Tory destruction of our social housing stock, they probably could see little point in replenishing it, just for a future Tory regime to use as bribes for votes yet again. Selling off council homes and not replacing them has caused a shortage of places available to rent.” The Tories have an ideological hatred of all things public, and social housing is very near the top of their list. Don’t waste your time trying to persuade anyone otherwise.
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Nov 17, 2013 5:12 pm

There are Lies. There are Damned Lies, and then there are affordable homes.
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by Ivan on Sun Nov 24, 2013 9:40 pm

'Right To Buy' was a disaster, and now we have Osborne's crackpot idea for dealing with the lack of affordable housing:-
 
http://www.ilegal.org.uk/thread/7400/osbornes-idea-helping-housing-crisis?page=1&scrollTo=18623
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Nov 24, 2013 10:29 pm

A somewhat speculative article in today's Sunday Times suggests that The Chancellor's imminent Budget will include measures to extend the application of IHT (Death Duties) - a good socialist idea if there ever was one. Selling more houses in order to create more tax liabilities might well appeal to the devious Osborne.
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by Ivan on Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:33 pm

At least 36% of homes (52,000 properties) sold through Right to Buy in London are now let by private landlords.

Tom Copley, London Assembly Labour housing spokesperson, has written a report recommending:-
• Mandatory covenants on all Right to Buy properties so they cannot be let through the private rented sector.
• The current system of discounts should be abolished.
• A new system should be introduced whereby local authorities retain an equity stake in any property sold.
• Local authorities should have a ‘right not to sell’ if it is not in the community interest to do so or if they believe it would harm their housing operations.
• Replacement homes built with Right to Buy receipts should mirror the rent, size and tenure specifications of the home sold.

Mr Copley said:-

“Right to Buy, a policy ostensibly about helping aspiring home owners, has led to tens-of-thousands of London’s former council homes being rented out by private landlords. This has helped to fuel the increase in the housing benefit bill, heaped more pressure on local authority waiting lists and led to more Londoners being forced into the under-regulated private rented sector.

This shows that Right to Buy currently represents incredibly poor value for money to taxpayers. Not only did they pay to build the home in the first place, they then subsidised the considerable discounts offered to tenants and then missed out on the rental income that would have covered the build costs. Now, we have the indignity of London boroughs renting back their former council homes at higher market rent levels, once again costing taxpayers through the nose. This is nothing short of Whitehall-sanctioned robbery of the taxpayer.”


http://tomcopley.com/buy-homes-london-privately-rented/
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:27 pm

Umm. Does anyone else suspect that since 1970, house-prices have been manipulated to enable "Lenders" to increase their profits?

Building more homes would have killed the mortgage market. So that's not what they have done.
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by Bellatori on Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:09 pm

Ivan wrote:... Tom Copley, London Assembly Labour housing spokesperson, has written a report recommending:-...
The failure to put in appropriate safeguards was a disaster and his suggestions make a lot of sense.

However...

Mr. Copley wrote:“Right to Buy, a policy ostensibly about helping aspiring home owners, has led to tens-of-thousands of London’s former council homes being rented out by private landlords.

is a nice sound bite but careful thought about this raises some problematic questions. The houses were sold to the tenants not to private landlords so how did this state of affairs come about. The tenants have therefore sold their right to buy house. Why? I read the full report and not just the link web synopsis and could not find anywhere anything that dealt with this issue. It is a glaring hole in the whole discussion.

Remember 52,000 homes sold to their tenants at a significant discount were then sold by those tenants to other people as buy to let. A small minority may have miscalculated the finances and had their homes repossessed but for the bulk of that number? The only credible explanation I can think of is that they sold the house to gain the equity that they had been gifted with under the right to buy.

Maybe Mr. Copley should add to his list of strictures a caveat to those using the right to buy that they will no longer be entitled to housing benefit if they subsequently sell.




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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:52 pm

".... a nice sound bite but careful thought about this raises some problematic questions. The houses were sold to the tenants not to private landlords so how did this state of affairs come about."

It's not very convincing when educated, intelligent people pretend not to understand a simple proposition. "Right-to-buy", exactly like Privatisation, was engineered to exploit the cupidity of the working classes who could be almost guaranteed to accept the offer of a lifetime. The intention was always that city spivs would acquire former local-authority houses for speculative purposes alongside their portfolio of companies previously in public ownership.

It worked.
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by Ivan on Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:07 pm

Bellatori wrote:-
Remember 52,000 homes sold to their tenants at a significant discount were then sold by those tenants to other people as buy to let.
No. They were probably sold by estate agents to other people who at that time wanted homes to live in - probably first time buyers, since the properties would have been at the lower end of the price range as they were on council estates.

The only credible explanation I can think of is that they sold the house to gain the equity that they had been gifted with under the right to buy.
The tenants couldn’t sell them straight away. They had to wait five years (later reduced to three) before they could sell, otherwise they had to return an appropriate proportion of the discount to the council. If they did sell, they still had to buy another house somewhere else.

A small minority may have miscalculated the finances and had their homes repossessed
Much more than “a small minority”. After a million council houses had been sold by Thatcher, that bloody idiot Lawson (who, for some strange reason, the BBC drags up as an ‘expert’ from time to time) created a boom with his 1988 Budget which saw house prices fall for the first time ever in peacetime. Prices were lower in 1995 than they’d been in 1988. Call it anecdotal if you like, but I knew someone who bought his council house in Crawley, his mortgage payments doubled in a year, he couldn’t afford to pay, the house was repossessed and his marriage broke up. From council tenant to homeless in just over a year, well done Thatcher!

In 1991 mortgage repossessions hit a record of 75,000. Interest rates went from 8% to 13% in six months. Remember that when any prat tries to tell you that the Tories are better than Labour at running the economy.

http://www.independent.co.uk/money/mortgages/crash-course-what-we-learnt-from-the-1980s-787630.html

So what happened to all those repossessed properties? Well, in the Tory-created recession of the early 1990s, those who had money to spare could buy themselves second, third or fourth properties (or maybe 1,000 in the case of that bastard Fergus Wilson). That’s how council houses became buy-to-let properties. It’s no wonder that scumbag Andrew Lansley told us in 2008 that “recessions can be good for you”. What he meant was that they are good for him and his ilk.
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by Bellatori on Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:19 pm

oftenwrong wrote:It's not very convincing when educated, intelligent people pretend not to understand a simple proposition.
Indeed it isn't but then I cannot be responsible for your shortcomings now can I? If an offer seems too good to be true it probably is. You talk of "cupidity of the working classes" and then try and blame it all on 'spivs'.

If you do something particularly crass and stupid such that you wind up with egg on your face then you only have yourself to blame. Why should anyone make excuses for you? Yet here you are lambasting some third party for what even you perceive as an action of a cupidinous working class. No one strong armed these tenants into selling so why are you making excuses for them? Why do you find greed amongst those tenants more acceptable than greed elsewhere? Sounds somewhat double standards to me.

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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by Bellatori on Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:37 pm

Ivan wrote:
Bellatori wrote:-
Remember 52,000 homes sold to their tenants at a significant discount were then sold by those tenants to other people as buy to let.
No. They were probably sold by estate agents to other people who at that time wanted homes to live in - probably first time buyers, since the properties would have been at the lower end of the price range as they were on council estates.

Sorry Ivan that does not make sense to me . First you are saying the 52000 are with private landlords and now you are saying they were sold to first time buyers.

Ivan wrote:
The only credible explanation I can think of is that they sold the house to gain the equity that they had been gifted with under the right to buy.
The tenants couldn’t sell them straight away. They had to wait five years (later reduced to three) before they could sell, otherwise they had to return an appropriate proportion of the discount to the council. If they did sell, they still had to buy another house somewhere else.
But they did not have to wait 5 years to realise the equity through second mortgages etc...

Ivan wrote:
A small minority may have miscalculated the finances and had their homes repossessed
Much more than “a small minority”. After a million council houses had been sold by Thatcher, that bloody idiot Lawson (who, for some strange reason, the BBC drags up as an ‘expert’ from time to time) created a boom with his 1988 Budget which saw house prices fall for the first time ever in peacetime. Prices were lower in 1995 than they’d been in 1988.
I remember negative equity BUT I had not bought my house at a 50% discount which would have been a very useful buffer against adversity.

I don't agree with you on this but either way we do agree that it was a seriously damaging policy and I think Copley has the right of it with his recommendations. If, as I believe, we need one million new houses then the automatic right to buy has to go.


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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

Post by oftenwrong on Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:30 pm

"Right to buy" has to be repealed before a single new Council House is built.
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Re: Has ‘the Right to Buy’ and lack of rent controls caused most of the UK’s housing problems?

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