All we keep hearing is :
There are not enough houses being built for the number of people who need them.
The government should do more to provide more housing’
Builders and developers are sitting of plots of land and not developing them even after planning permission has been given.
People will never be able to pay the mortgages because of the price of houses.
So what is the situation, who has a part to play in this scenario, is anyone at fault?
Let’s take a look at this more closely
Yes the government has a role to play, when council houses were first put on the market the money they generated was supposed to provide more social housing; that was the Margaret Thatcher era and yet successive governments have failed to reinvest in proper social housing, choosing to go for the new terminology of ‘Affordable housing’. This raises the new question – affordable to who??
Then we have had – the rise of the new landlords, the portfolio builders who are buying up all of the houses first time buyers used to buy and ‘do up’. Affectionately known as the ‘doer uppers’, these landlords then they rent them to people for exorbitant and immoral rents that leave the tenants so fleeced their chances of ever being able to save for a new home are gone. Who are these landlords – well there seems to be 3 main categories:
We have the likes of Cheri Blair and son Ian who have swept the country buying up whole streets – because as she once revealed she is scared of being poor – well she doesn’t give a shit about who she might make poor!! No this is not fear, this is greed!
Then we have foreign landlords who have never set foot in the county and who have people finding properties for them to buy, which they then rent out at disgusting prices and they do not even pay tax on the earnings they get from the rent. Many of these individuals are also using the housing market to launder their own ill gotten gains.
And lets not forget those who are investing in housing so that they can leave their children well off – their children could of course get a job! But many of these people are the 30+ professional group who are selfishly happy to buy up housing stock through the bank of mum and dad, then they to go for the over priced rent.
I think that covers the vast majority of the landlords, but I am sure there will be a sprinkling of others who do not fall into these categories. Essentially we have a situation where everyone is looking to make a fast buck and couldn’t give a shit about how that affects others, it’s the ‘all about me’ campaign again!!
So what should we be doing? Well these are my thoughts, I am sure others have their own views;
There should be housing available where people do NOT need to find a huge deposit before they can rent the place, and they should be rented at reasonable rates, so that people on low incomes can afford them.
Non residential foreigners should not be allowed to buy more than one residential property, and they should pay the tax on any income they earn from that property at the higher rate.
Perhaps UK residents who are landlords should have to rent one house out at a lower rate for people on lower incomes and they register that property with the local council, the system could be that the first house you buy to rent out goes on the open rental market but second one goes on the council list of restricted rents.
The council needs to do 2 things build more proper social housing and manage its existing stock better than it currently does. There are large council properties with one elderly person in them who is unable to get upstairs or to manage the house. They need to be building 1 and 2 bedroomed bungalows and sheltered maisonettes/ flats in all areas so people can downsize but not move out of their immediate area, meaning they do not suddenly become even more socially isolated and they are still with neighbours they have known for years and who they trust. This would release many family homes, and might reduce the number of families sofa surfing/ living in bed and breakfast accommodation. There needs to be a much wider range of council accommodation available and the council DOES need to be providing homes because the past 30yrs has shown just how the underlying greed of humans has reeked havoc in the housing market.
As to the builders and developers, they need to firstly be building houses that are suitable for family life, currently the living areas are so small a family of four is crowded in their own lounge, so everyone goes to their own room – hardly promoting good family life and quality time. There should be a minimum size of footprint for a house living quarters, i.e a minimum for a 3 bedroomed house, a different one for a four bedroomed house etc.
Those builders/ developers sitting on land where development had been agreed should have an agreed number of months in which to start the development with an agreed completion date; failure to meet these dates should incur a very large fine which should be paid to the local council.
So who’s fault is it – well clearly contrary to the opinion of the press there is no single guilty party, there are many people who are causing this problem which is compounded by the fact that we have had thousands of people come here to live and obviously they also want a home. They did not arrive unexpectedly, we knew they were coming so again successive governments AND developers/ builders have failed to make adequate provision.
The reality is that the builders and developers need to start pulling their fingers out and building, the government needs to look at who is accessing the help to buy scheme as currently tax payers money is helping to fund homes for young professionals who CAN afford to buy, and what return are we getting on or money??
I await with keen interest to see how Andy Burnham the Manchester mayor is going to resolve the homelessness problem in Manchester!! Perhaps he can come up with a model for everyone else.
But we all need to look at our priorities – there is no good spending £15000+ on a wedding if you cannot afford somewhere to live, that £15000 could have been your house deposit! Young couples do need to look at the money they waste on stag nights/ hen nights/ weddings and honeymoons, yes by all means celebrate but cut your cloth accordingly!
And lets look at the figures of low paid workers
paid on average £7. 15ph for a 40hr week =£300 per wk
= £15600 per year minus tax and national insurance = approx £14000 per year
= £1204 per month – rent £650 per month = £554 to live in, pay bills, clothing etc for the family!!
NOT A PRETTY PICTURE!!